STEUBENVILLE — Thanks to a unique partnership between a local union and Eastern Gateway Community College, eight 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 graduation with a dinner and ceremony on May 20. This is the 10th group of inside wiremen to complete the training and receive an associate degree of technical studies in electrical trades technology.
The celebration marks the completion of more than 8,000 hours of on-the-job training, accompanied by 1,000 hours of classroom training through the Steubenville Electrical JATC, and 47 credits through EGCC. The graduating apprentices received certificates of completion from the U.S. Department of Labor and The Electrical Training Alliance.
Christina Wanat, senior vice president and chief student affairs officer, said Eastern Gateway accepts IBEW Local Union 246 apprentices nearly every year. Under EGCC’s program, it is mandatory for apprentices to earn their associate degree. This, in turn, opens up more opportunities for continuing education.
Thanks to the program, participants are offered the opportunity to earn wages and benefits while they learn the skills needed for the trade, obtain an associate degree, and go through multiple certification processes all at the same time. 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 Union 246.
Scott Kosek Jr. and Hunter Wallace received the John Habash Award for Outstanding Apprentice. This award is named in honor of longtime apprentice instructor and IBEW leader John Habash of Steubenville. The award is based on excellence in classroom training, leadership and on-the-job performance. Kosek and Wallace, along with other outstanding apprentices, will attend a summer session in Ann Arbor, Mich., this summer to further their knowledge of the electrical construction industry.
The IBEW Local Union 246 includes all of Jefferson, Columbiana and Harrison counties in Ohio; parts of Carroll County; and all of Brooke and Hancock counties. Information on apprenticeship and access to skilled electrical craftsmen can be obtained by contacting IBEW Local Union 246 in Steubenville.