High School Apprentices Learn Success With IEC San Antonio

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IEC San Antonio partners with a local high school for the MacArthur Electrical Apprenticeship Program. The chapter is privileged to work with the school and its electrical program. The relationship began over 12 years ago and it continues to grow and thrive today.

MacArthur High School’s Electrical Apprenticeship Program is actively using the first year of the IEC National Apprenticeship curriculum.

The students are introduced to the program in the seventh and eighth grade and the opportunities it can bring. Beginning in the student’s freshman year, they enter the electrical apprenticeship program. Ninth grade students are taught basic electrical theory and the safety aspects of the construction industry with the introduction to IEC safety standards and the IEC curriculum. During their second year, the student’s sophomore year, they are taught half of the first-year IEC National curriculum. During their junior year of high school, they are taught the second half of the first-year IEC curriculum. During both of these years, they work in their school’s electrical laboratory learning pipe bending, electrical wiring projects from residential to commercial to industrial, work ethics, and team building. Just like on a jobsite, these students must learn to work with other employees/students.

Upon entering their senior year of high school, most of the electrical apprenticeship students begin to work with local contractors. They continue their schooling in the morning and work part-time in the afternoon at a local contractor’s office. Most of the students work for IEC San Antonio member contractors. Also at this time, they are registered with the Department of Labor and have the Electrical Apprenticeship State Licenses required by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations.

At the end of their senior year, IEC San Antonio proctors a final exam to the students. This test counts as their final exam at the high school level. This is the same exam given to the students currently enrolled in the IEC program. This allows the chapter to know how many of the high school students are prepared to come to IEC San Antonio to continue the apprenticeship. Those who pass this test may enter directly into the second year of the IEC apprenticeship program.

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MacArthur High School has an advisory committee on which many of the local IEC member contractors serve. They meet on a quarterly basis. It is made up of about 30 contractors and suppliers as well as a few individuals who represent other businesses in the industry.

Many of the IEC San Antonio contractor member also donate time, money, and materials to the school and their laboratory. These contractors employ many of the students looking to gain some of their on-the-job learning hours. The contractors give feedback on the students and their work skills, knowledge, and attitude. The advisory committee speaks with the contractors often about other skills needed by the students, such as soft skills, more curriculum knowledge, and technical skills. The contractors work hard to employ and guide these students in their effort to further their knowledge and their career.

There are many advantages to the program and the advisory committee contractor members. They include: a source of well-trained employees, improved cost-effectiveness of recruiting and training, an improved personnel selection process by using job performance as a basis for permanent hiring decisions, and an improved retention rate among fu