A New Approach to a Old Problem: Labor Shortages

There is another option once a student has graduated high school - a career in skilled trades. VEC recognizes the need to promote this career path to combat labor shortages and to ensure that retiring tradesmen will be replaced by these young apprentices.

In 2017, Trumbull Career and Technical Center (TCTC), VEC and IBEW Local 573 came together to share ideas on promoting the electrical apprenticeship through the IBEW to high school students, specifically those students at TCTC. What came out of those meetings was the electrical pre-apprenticeship program; it is one of seven programs of its kind in the state of Ohio.

The purpose of this program is to get the students on an accelerated path to becoming a journeyman while they are still in high school. The students have real world experience and are more prepared to enter the workforce. By successfully completing this program, it will give the student a leg up on being chosen for the electrical apprenticeship through the IBEW.

To be eligible for the program TCTC has established criteria centered around attendance, academic performance and punctuality. Time in the program is split between the classroom and on site with a local contractor; and that’s where VEC comes in.

Grant Jones is in the electrical tech pre apprenticeship program at TCTC and is working at VEC as part of the program requirements. He assists our warehouse team with various tasks including material handling, trailer set up and restocking.

“I chose this program because it’s a good foot in the door and it’s a good opportunity for me to get into,” Jones stated. 

“VEC has a vested interest in our community and our customers need a strong pool of local skilled craftsmen,” VEC’s Manpower Superintendent Dave Jakovina explained when ask why the company partnered with TCTC on this program. “It starts with TCTC; by partnering with us, we can all benefit by providing student with opportunities for success in the workplace.”

All parties involved are optimistic that Grant is the first of many pre-apprentices to complete the program and move into the apprenticeship program at Local 573.