For the seventh year, National Apprenticeship Week will be observed as a way to recognize and celebrate apprentices and the organizations that offer these unique opportunities to their future workforces.
Each day this week, we will introduce a local electrical apprentice, sharing why they chose to pursue a career in the building trades.
There are two local Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committees – JATC in Youngstown and JATC In Warren – where information regarding electrical apprenticeships can be found, along with applications for the programs.
Applicants must be at least 17 to apply, and 18 by the time they are accepted, said Cody Hilliard, vice president with IBEW Local 64.
They must also have a valid driver’s license, high school diploma or GED and a passing grade of Algebra I on their school transcript.
The math learned in the program is applied to work that apprentices will use throughout their career, Hilliard said. “It’s not quite just ‘random numbers on a chalkboard.’”
As apprentices learn skills of the trade, they’ll earn money working full time. Apprentices receive incremental raises about every six months by completing classes with satisfactory grades and meeting required hours worked.
On top of having a steady paycheck while learning, apprentices also qualify for hospitalization and retirement benefits.
Locally, we have two unions that serve the Mahoning Valley: IBEW Local 64 in Youngstown and IBEW Local 573 in Warren.
Our first apprentice
Nico Diianni is a fourth-year apprentice with IBEW Local 64 in Youngstown.
Earning a bachelor degree in international business with a minor in marketing, Diiani worked as a laborer around the Youngstown area after graduation in 2017.
It was talking with tradesmen and tradeswomen that inspired his shift in careers.
“I got to work with them, and as they talked, it sounded like a great career path to take, so I went with it,” he said.
Before enrolling in the electrical apprenticeship program, Diiani had a good understanding of how construction works, but he didn’t have electrical experience.
He’s since found there are many opportunities, “whether in the field or moving up to a foreman running jobs or on the office side” working with membership, Diiani said.
One of Diianni’s professional goals is to work on estimates and surveying jobs.
“You get to see a lot of different things. It’s not just running pipe and pulling wire. You see how things work,” he said.
“You’re not getting bored every day doing the same thing day in and day out.”