This is part two of a two-part series
With a projected labor shortage on the horizon, Dan Santon, owner of Santon Electric, believes it’s imperative to find qualified applicants to get into the skilled trades.
“This is a problem all over the country,” Santon added.
Santon feels high school students need to be educated on the opportunities that await with an apprenticeship in the skilled trades.
“I know there’s a lot of pressure to go to college, but that’s not always the best case,” he said. “If you find a boy or girl in school that is handy and would make a great tradesman, you’re doing them a disservice by not letting them explore the possibility of working at a trade.”
He also shared the story of an electrical contractor in Iowa, who along with other businesses, held a job fair to educate students in the fourth and fifth grade about what it entails to be a skilled tradesman.
“When they were done, the principal thanked them and said, ‘I want you to come back and talk with students in the eighth grade.’”
When discussing the shortage issue, Santon stressed the many benefits of a union electrician apprenticeship.
“Entering an apprenticeship program, you’re earning money while you’re learning,” he said. “Other advantages of going through an apprenticeship program include getting college credits, if you want to further your career, such as in engineering.”
In addition to the classroom education and on-the-job training, Santon says an apprenticeship will prepare you for any situation in life.
“This can lead into all kinds of opportunities, and you’re a well-rounded person when you’re done,” he said. “From working on different jobs to being mentored by journeymen, you have the skills to succeed.”
After topping out of an apprenticeship, there are many avenues that a journeyman electrician can take their career.
“An apprenticeship can lead into many career upgrades, such as foreman, superintendent, working inside and being an estimator for a contractor, or you can start your own business if you’d like,” Santon said.
There are also specific traits any potential apprentice should exude.
“When we get a new apprentice, what we look for is naturally attitude,” Santon said. “Do they like what they’re doing and ask a lot of questions? Do they want to advance themselves and learn everything there is to know about the trade? And are they happy with their work?”
Locally, individuals interested in exploring a career in the building trades can apply for the union electrical apprenticeship year-round in both Warren and Youngstown. For more information on the electrician apprentice program, visit ATradeThatPays.com.