Garrett County Government - Department of Business Development

Garrett College Launches Electrical Apprenticeship Program

Last Updated on Nov 18, 2022 at 9:14am | Business Resources

Article courtesy of The Republican Newspaper. From Staff Reports.
 
 
Garrett College has launched an electrical apprenticeship program in partnership with a pair of local businesses that combines hands-on, in-person class and lab work with an online learning component.
 
Beitzel Corporation and Rush Services are the College’s partners in the program, which includes paid, on-the-job training with the employers. Kurt Lear, Garrett College’s director of workforce development, said the program addresses a critical workforce need.
 
“As of December 31, all individuals working in the electrical trade must be licensed, whether it’s a master, journeyman or apprentice,” noted Lear, whose said legislation passed by the Maryland General Assembly resulted in that requirement.
 
“We’re spread awfully thin with master electricians – and we have an aging population of master electricians approaching retirement,” added Lear. “Companies are going to need more master electricians in the future.”
 
The College is using Mike Holt’s Electrical Apprenticeship Curriculum, based on the National Electrical Code, for the program’s online content. Hands-on training, meanwhile, is being delivered at the Career Technology Training Center (CTTC) in Accident.
 
Lear said the four-year program – which launched its first class last month and will include 576 classroom hours and 8,000 hours of work experience – provides a clear pathway to becoming a master electrician.
 
“After two years as an apprentice, you can move to journeyman electrician,” said Lear. “Then, at the completion of the apprenticeship, you can sit for the National Electrical Code Exam to become a master electrician.”
 
The apprenticeship program, approved by the Maryland Apprenticeship Training Council, includes technical instruction in electrical theory, blueprint reading, and electrical code requirements, as well as safety and first-aid practices. Lear said the flexibility of the program’s design has been well-received by both the businesses and students involved.
 
“The online component is self-paced and allows students to work conveniently from anywhere, with them only coming to the CTTC for lab work,” said Lear.
Lear said he personally reached out to Holt to explore that curriculum before selecting it to provide the online component.
 
“We [Lear and the program’s business partners] viewed the learning platform, and everyone loved it,” said Lear.
 
Lear said the partnership with Beitzel Corporation and Rush Services allows for a strong alignment between classroom content and on-the-job training.
 
“The biggest advantage is the employer’s ability to line up the curriculum with actual job experience,” said Lear, who expects to start another electrical apprenticeship cohort in March. “It’s more valuable to the student when they see the application of what they’re learning.”
 
While the employers provide the up-front funding of the work hours, the Maryland State Department of Labor provides annual employer reimbursement for students who are successfully progressing through the program.
 
Garrett College has also started a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) apprenticeship program with Beitzel Corporation. That four-year program features an all-in-person design.
 
Potential students interested in more information can contact Lear at 301.387.3087 or kurt.lear@garrettcollege.edu.