In Moline, IL, a new educational opportunity for residents of eastern Iowa/western Illinois was created recently by the Quad City Electrical Training Center and Black Hawk College. Dignitaries from both organizations signed an agreement that will allow the training center's apprentices to earn an associate's degree or certificate from the college when they complete their training.
Under the new partnership, apprentices can apply their training toward college credit for a Black Hawk College (BHC) certificate. Plus, they can receive an associate's degree in applied science if they earn an additional 15 college credit hours in general studies through BHC. The agreement was signed by Tom Yates, Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committee (JATC) trustee, and Dr. Keith Miller, president of Black Hawk College.
"Now apprentices can go ever farther in their careers," says Mike Ellison, training director of the Quad City Electrical Training Center. "While attaining a degree isn't mandatory, it will help any apprentice who decides someday to branch out and go into business or engineering. It is also a good selling point for our contractors, to be able to say their workers are pursuing higher education."
The Quad City Electrical Training Center trains apprentices and journeymen through the JATC, and their educational programs are sponsored by the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).
The five-year NECA-IBEW apprenticeship program trains apprentices to become journeymen electricians, and includes 1,000 classroom hours and more than 8,000 hours of on-the-job training. Thanks to the new agreement, not only can apprentices earn 45 credit hours from BHC, but also, journeymen who have completed the program within the past five years can apply to receive credit for the training they have completed.
"National studies show that an individual with a degree can earn much more than they can with a high school diploma," says Dr. Miller. "This new partnership opens up a lot of opportunities for apprentices."
According to Ellison, apprentices at the Quad City Electrical Training Center have excellent earning potential. Journeymen electricians can earn $55,000 to $70,000 annually. Beginning apprentices earn $12.21 an hour, which is 40 percent of the journeyman scale. They receive 45 percent after 1,000 hours of training and 50 percent after their first year of training with a passing grade. With each school year that follows, the percentage goes up 10 percent until they reach journeyman scale.