Students get look at possible electrifying future

Published 9:00 am Friday, September 30, 2022

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With the ongoing controversy over higher education and student loan forgiveness, local students might like to know that there is a way for them to escape debt, learn a trade, and make a living all at the same time.

Students from George Rogers Clark High School (GRC), Phoenix Academy, and the Area Technology Center visited the campus of Bluegrass Community and Technical College last Friday to learn about career opportunities from Amteck.

Amteck is an electrical engineering company that designs and installs above and below-ground electrical systems for its clients. It also offers equipment safety inspection and other electrical services.

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Company representatives were on hand to explain its apprenticeship program, where an individual is hired by Amteck and learns the electrical trade while they work. The program lasts four years, and an apprentice gets a pay raise yearly. Ultimately, they take the required exams to become certified electricians.

Amteck also brought some mobile interactive exhibits to give students a look at some things the company does.

Jon Dougherty, Amteck’s education director and license manager, explained.

“We basically brought our roadshow. We’ve got a bus that has some interactive things on the inside, and we’ve got other placements we’ve set outside … The kids can come in and flip switches,” Dougherty said.

The exhibits are a vital component of the company’s recruitment process.

“For us, it is huge because they need to understand what we do. We are trying to attract young people to our trade, and if they don’t see what we do, they will misunderstand what we do,” Dougherty said.

During his lecture, Dougherty emphasized electricians do not fix appliances or power poles and instead design and install complex systems that power residential and industrial buildings.

Twelfth-grade student Lucas Keller said he was not aware of the things licensed electricians can do and that the experience “opened his eyes.”

More importantly, it showed him there is another path for his future besides attending college.

“They showed us that you can build a career and not just work under someone. If you put in the time and effort, you can work your way up and do some amazing things,” Keller said.

Coy Hall is the principal of the Area Technology Center and said that students like Keller must see there is another way to prepare for their future.

“I believe that there is a huge push for students to go to college, but it is not for everyone,” Hall said. “A lot of these students need guidance that they can go to college, but they can also learn a trade. There are other opportunities out there as well.”

The visit was part of a partnership between BCTC and the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

Bruce Manley, the campus director for BCTC Winchester, explained.

“We’ve partnered with the Kentucky Chamber and their Bus to Business program. We’ve invited them out today to present career opportunities in technical fields for our Clark County students,” he said.

Manley said Bus to Business helps connect students to industrial careers through tours and lectures like the Amteck representatives gave with one goal in mind.

“Hopefully, we will introduce students to a good-paying career,” Manley said.