This is part three of a three-part series
Second-year commercial electrician apprentice Kayla Chipps truly believes she has found her niche in the electrical field.
“It helped grow this hunger inside of me to want to do better.”
Chipps, of Austintown, was previously working in the medical field. After her husband, Joe, got a job as a cable puller, she was searching for the same career happiness he had found.
“I applied on a whim and was accepted into the apprenticeship. I’m learning more every day and excited and confident in what I’m learning.”
In her first two years, Chipps has been involved with various projects in Trumbull County. However, her work on the Harbor Woods Living facility in Niles holds a special place in her heart.
“It was my first job and I learned a lot,” she said. “I was there six months. It was the dead of winter with no roof on the building and we had to wear multiple layers to keep warm.”
Whether it’s on-the-job training or education in the classroom, Chipps is grateful for those who have taken the time to teach her valuable lessons.
“Knowledge is power, and we are going to spend five years learning how to perfect our craft,” she said. “Having the right journeyman take you under their wing and show you things and different tricks has made me more confident.”
As the first black woman out of IBEW Local 573, Chipps hopes to be a trailblazer as she hones her skills.
“I feel this is a great opportunity and hopefully I can set an example for any other young women to want to take this up and see it is for everybody, as long as you have the heart and drive to do it.”
When she’s not on the job, Chipps focuses her energy on spending time with her husband, stepson Bastian and seven-month-old son, Anakin. She feels she’s steadily growing in her role as a working mom.
“It’s definitely a work in progress,” she said. “You just kind of take it day by day.”
In her free time, she also enjoys playing piano, crocheting and cooking. Chipps finds it therapeutic when she’s able to get in the kitchen and whip up her favorite recipe, a seven-ingredient meatloaf.
“It has Ritz crackers in it,” she joked. “That’s the secret.”
As Chipps advances in her apprenticeship, she plans on growing her craft and going for an associate degree in electrical engineering.
“The fact there is an opportunity to grow in education, as well, is important to me,” she said. “Once you learn a trade, you can go anywhere with it. You never want to live your life with what-if’s.”