UnitedIlluminating

Letter to the Editor

| February 22, 2018

As Jimmy Lehoux correctly points out, our educational system badly needs to catch up with the demands of today’s economy and position the skilled trades as a viable alternative to college (Today’s Students Tomorrow’s Workforce, February 2018).

The growing shortage of licensed electricians in New England, combined with the booming construction industry in the region, make the electrical trade attractive to people with the right commitment. For students right out of high school to people who are midcareer, apprenticeship programs can be a real life-changer.

Over the past two decades, over 200 Interstate apprentices have graduated from the Gould Construction Institute apprenticeship program, which provides students with a combination of classroom education and on-the-job training. As employees of Interstate, apprentices receive a full-time salary, health care, and other benefits while taking classes two nights a week at no cost to the apprentices.

Many of the senior executives at Interstate started as apprentices themselves, years and even decades ago. Now that the need for apprentices is more urgent than ever, it is important for people of all ages to know that the electrical trade offers a fulfilling, lifelong career that anyone can be proud of.

As the article pointed out, it is critical that public schools change; starting from middle school up we need to inform students about the opportunities in the trades. Rather than wait for state and federal mandates, we can make inroads a bit at a time. How about in addition to featuring a policeman, fireman, lawyer, or doctor at career day formats, we as members of the trades and parents get schools to include electricians, plumbers, and carpenters?

Luiza Mills, vice president of human resources, Interstate Electrical Services, North Billerica, Mass.

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