Two hundred people recently started a new career in electrical construction at the Washington, DC Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committee (JATC). Sitting among them is Thomas Belle, winner of the 2010 SkillsUSA Championships industrial motor control competition.
SkillsUSA operates partnerships between schools and employers that expose students to the real world of work before they commit to a career. It organizes and conducts competitions that enable the students to test their competency against their peers, furthering their drive and desire to succeed. Contests begin locally and continue through the state and national level.
After winning regional and state competitions, Belle, a 2010 graduate of North Point high school in Charles County, traveled to Kansas City, MO to compete against electrical students from around the country. The two-day competition consisted of three written exams—wiring diagram, pipe bending and trouble-shooting—and an actual project to assemble.
“I chose to enter the industrial motor control competition because it’s highly technical and I find that very interesting,” explained Belle.
The SkillsUSA Championships is just the start of Belle’s lifelong career in electrical construction. As a first-year apprentice in the JATC’s program he’s looking forward to completing five years of intense classroom and on-site training to become a journeyman electrician.
“This is a great trade to be in,” said Belle. “After I get my journeyman and master’s licenses, I eventually want to own my own contracting business.”
The main electrical training center for the JATC is located in Lanham, MD with branches in Manassas and Roanoke, VA. For information about careers in electrical trades and details about the JATC apprenticeship program, visit www.getchargedup.org.