Monday, June 24, 2024

‘You’ve got a job forever’: Students say electrical systems technology is a growing field

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  • Coshocton County Career Center started electrical technology systems program this school year with 15 students; 26 juniors will start next school year.
  • The program gives hands-on and online curriculum to develop skills for residential, commercial and industrial work in the electrical field.
  • McWane Ductile has made donations to get the program started and many local companies are looking to make summer hires from the program students.

COSHOCTON − A growing career field has proven to be one of the most successful new programs in some time at the Coshocton County Career Center.

The electrical systems technology program started this year, and replaced the electronics program. Students in the program said they recognized electrical systems technology as a growing field with a strong career path.

Principal Andy Slaughter said it’s the fastest growing new program the career has had in several years. There are 15 juniors in the program this year with 26 slated to join next school year.

“The last couple of programs we started didn’t get to double digits until year five,” Slaughter said.

Superintendent Matt Colvin said the program was started based on input from local businesses expressing the need for electricians and the shortage of workers in the field. A shortage that will only be made worse because of Intel and other mega projects in Central Ohio gobbling up those available.

“We’ve also got to look at available students and what they’re interested in. If that matches and meets the local workforce demand, why not look at getting it started,” Colvin said.

‘It’s such a good career path’

Students learn many phases of the industry from residential, commercial and industrial work to green construction practices and programmable logic controllers. The program involves hands-on training related to electrical theory, safe electrical work practices, conduit fabrication, construction drawings and code and standards and practices.  Completion of the program gives first year credit for the Newark Electrical Apprenticeship Program.

Students said they’ve enjoyed the hands-on work the most. This has included doing electrical work at the school, like installing new LED lights in hallways and wiring a room to provide an expansion of the girls’ locker room.

Damien Williams, whose home school is Ridgewood, said his grandfather is the maintenance manager at MFM Building Products. He recommended Williams join the electrical systems program after seeing it was forming. Williams looked into it and believed it was a tremendous opportunity for his future.

“You’ve got a job forever, basically, once you do it,” Williams said. “It’s rough, but the payout is definitely worth it. It’s such a good career path with so many opportunities.”

Robert Lohrman, whose home school is Coshocton, said he was impressed by the varied opportunities electrical systems technology offered from residential, to commercial, to industrial work.

“This program you have countless paths you can go down different from each other. All offer meeting new people and getting different types of experiences and the pay is good for all of them,” Lohrman said. “When you take this course, you get skills that can help you around the house even if you don’t follow the electrical field.”

Both said they want to join the local International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union and go from there. Lohrman might like to work maintenance in a factory, while Williams said he’d like to start his own contracting business someday.

McWane Ductile visit

Students from the program recently took a tour of McWane Ductile. It featured Slaughter giving general manager Tom Crawford and human resources manager Jolinda Kistler the Lobo Legend Award for their contributions to the career center over the years. This included funding most of the materials needed to launch the electrical systems program.

Crawford said he wanted the company to connect to the workforce of the next generation and the skills the students were learning in the electrical systems technology program were what they were looking for. McWane has conducted interviews with students for two open summer jobs. Class instructor Todd Cognion said Philip A. Wagner, Wiley Companies and MFM Building Products are also looking to make summer hires from the program.

Crawford said they’ve assisted the program in helping to give students greater access to materials and learning opportunities that prepares them for the future.

“You really are the future of Coshocton, our county, and, hopefully some of you, our facility,” Crawford told students.

Leonard Hayhurst is a community content coordinator and general news reporter for the Coshocton Tribune with more than 15 years of local journalism experience and multiple awards from the Ohio Associated Press. He can be reached at 740-295-3417 or llhayhur@coshoctontribune.com. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) at @llhayhurst.

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