Thanks to a unique partnership between a local union and Eastern Gateway Community College, 13 students finished a five-year apprenticeship program and earned an associate degree at the same time.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 246 and the Steubenville Division of the National Electrical Contractors Association celebrated the apprentices’ graduation with a dinner and ceremony on May 14.

The celebration marks the completion of more than 8,000 hours of on-the-job training, accompanied by 1,000 hours of classroom training during the last five years. This is the seventh group of inside wiremen to complete the training and also receive an associate degree of Technical Studies in Electrical Trades Technology.

Christina Wanat, M.Ed., interim vice president of student affairs, said through the partnership with the IBEW, Eastern Gateway accepts IBEW Local 246 apprentices. Through the partnership, it is mandatory for apprentices to earn their associate degree. This, in turn, opens up more opportunities for continuing education and employment opportunities.

Students in the five-year program are all union electricians and only a certain number of participants are accepted, said Christy Hardwick, an administrative assistant at IBEW Local 246.

The program is approved through the state of Ohio. Students attend classes at the IBEW training center and earn up to 47 credits toward their associate degree. Thanks to the program, participants are able to move to journeyman status, obtain their associate degree, do their apprenticeships, receive on-the job training, and go through multiple certification processes all at the same time.

Wanat said, “Along with their IBEW training, it prepares them for the workforce and, if they wanted to continue on with their education, they would already have an associate degree to build upon.”

After they successfully complete the program, students can decide on their own if they want to continue on to earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

The IBEW Local 246 includes all of Jefferson, Columbiana and Harrison counties in Ohio; parts of Carroll County, Ohio; and all of Brooke and Hancock counties in West Virginia. The graduating apprentices received certificates of completion from the U.S. Department of Labor and NJATC.


Pictured (Left to Right):

1st row: Quent Thornton, Richard Stanley

2nd row: Tyler Tenley, Cody Lucarelli

3rd row: Brandon Scott, Shane Parker

4th row: Drew Ferguson, Kevan Brown

5th row: Brandon Sowers, Jordon Jones, Clayton McDaniel


Not pictured: Brian Dobbs and William Smith

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