Apprentices honored at Youngstown JATC year-end picnic

(From left to right): Bob Magni (JATC Residential Selection Committee member), Samuel DeCesare (third-year apprentice) and Jim Johnstone (JATC Residential Selection Committee member) pose for a photo at the first annual Youngstown JATC apprentice end-of-year picnic. DeCesare was honored as the outstanding residential apprentice of the year.

It was a night of celebration at the first annual Youngstown JATC apprentice end-of-year picnic.

“It’s a time for our NECA and IBEW representatives, apprentices, instructors and everybody involved in the JATC program to get together and appreciate the year we had, and all the hard work the apprentices and instructors put in,” said Jack Savage, Mahoning Valley NECA executive director.

The first-time event was held at the Youngstown Shrine Club, and came together as an idea from a few apprentices.

“We had some apprentices that asked if we would consider doing a year-end picnic,” said Ed Emerick, Youngstown Area Electrical JATC training director. “It was a fun event to put together for them.”

At the picnic, two apprentices were honored for their work over the last year. Samuel DeCesare, a third-year apprentice, was honored as the outstanding residential apprentice of the year. Ray Carlson was selected as the outstanding inside apprentice of the year.

“I feel like I’ve worked pretty hard this year,” DeCesare said. “I was involved with the union meetings as a class representative. It feels good to get recognized for the hard work I’ve put in.”

For Savage, these awards signify the hard work needed to succeed in the electrical trade.

“They just represent the excellence in our apprentice program through their hard work in the field as well as the grades they’ve received in school,” Savage said. “We’re really proud to give these awards out each year.”

Mike Reiser, project manager at VEC, Inc., was on hand cooking roughly 40 rotisserie chickens over a wood fire mix of hickory and cherry wood.

“I was happy to participate in this event,” Reiser said. “I went through the apprenticeship program in Local 64 myself, and hope those who attended enjoyed the chicken.”

In addition to dinner, apprentices received prizes and gift cards that were donated by Mahoning Valley NECA, IBEW Local 64, Milwaukee Tool and Graybar Electrical Supply.

“We want to let our apprentices know they’re quality people,” Emerick said. “We appreciate them and what they do, and the hard work they put into their apprenticeship.”

For information on the electrician apprentice program, visit

NECA-IBEW Electricians is an association of IBEW union locals in Warren and Youngstown, and signatory Mahoning Valley electrical contractors. Click here for a list of member contractors.