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Blinn works with job seekers and employers to meet growing demand for electricians

College’s Electrical Technician Program trains job seekers, while the Electrical Apprenticeship Program works directly with local employers

November 28, 2016

To meet the region’s growing demand for skilled electricians, Blinn College doesn’t just offer its Electrical Technician Program to job seekers – it also works directly with local employers to offer Department of Labor-registered apprenticeship programs.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national demand for electricians will increase 14 percent between 2014 and 2024, creating almost 86,000 new jobs. According to data supplied by Workforce Solutions Brazos Valley, local demand for electricians is expected to be nearly identical, creating an average of 20 position openings each year with a mean hourly wage approaching $20 per hour.

For job seekers looking to fill those openings, Blinn’s Electrician Technician Program provides those who complete the program with the skills needed to become a highly competitive applicant. The program covers alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) theory, basic troubleshooting, fundamental wiring and means, and provides an introduction to the National Electrical Code.

“It’s a real good industry course,” said Jim Culverhouse, Instructor. “When you finish you will understand basic residential wiring, you will get exposed to bending pipe, and if you are aggressive and energetic, you can continue your education to earn a master’s license and own your own business. This is one of the fields where your growth potential only is limited by your own initiative.”

The nine-month program meets twice per week and includes 240 hours of classroom instruction. The final exam includes a practical demonstrating basic troubleshooting skills. Students who complete the course earn a certificate and their Occupational Safety and Health Administration 10-hour safety training card.

Graduates who earn their certificate are qualified to enter the field as an apprentice electrician.

“With all the local construction taking place, companies always need new employees to work as electricians,” said Gayla Briles, Blinn’s Manager of Corporate Projects. “This training definitely gives you a leg up when you apply for entry level positions. If you already understand the math, terminology, and basic skills, that is certainly a plus for the employer.”

The Electrical Technician Program is one of 28 Blinn workforce programs that provide training for occupations identified in the Workforce Solutions Brazos Valley Targeted Occupations List for Fall 2017. By the end of the academic year, Blinn will provide workforce training programs for 97 percent of the targeted occupations.

In addition to the training Blinn provides job seekers, the College works directly with local companies such as Dailey Electric, BCA Electric, and Dowling Electric to provide apprenticeship opportunities. The four-year Electrical Apprenticeship Program consists of four courses and includes approximately 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and 144 hours of classroom training each year. An apprentice who completes the program can become a journeyman electrician licensed to work without direct supervision.

Blinn works with the employer to establish an apprenticeship committee and standards of training, and to register the apprenticeship with the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeships.

Blinn also is a partner in the Houston Apprenticeship Consortium, which includes Houston Community College, San Jacinto College, Brazosport College, the Texas Carpenters and Millwrights Union, and the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeships. The consortium was formed in 2015 to develop recommended standards for area apprenticeship programs.

Students interested in Blinn’s Electrical Technician Program can visit www.blinn.edu/workforce, or contact the Division of Technical & Community Education Programs at 979-209-7205 or workforce@blinn.edu. Companies interested in establishing an apprenticeship program can contact Ken Dupre at ken.dupre@blinn.edu or 979-209-7560.