b'We have two apprenticeship programs in place, says Williams The idea was that dual enrollment students might find the diploma attractive while existing employees at a company might gravitate ACE ELECTRICto the degree. However, both programs are available to either group of students. On the Job: Taylor Barfield, Lowndes High School student, with Bryan Bailey, generalWorking with Ace Electric to develop superintendent with Ace Electric, and Nathan Little, superintendent with Ace Electric. the new programs, Williams says, Ace is such an influential company in our service With more than 600 employees,says Shanks. With a required 8,000 hoursarea, and we feel that the curriculum will Shanks says keeping a steady streamof on-the-job training and classroomapply to any similar company in the area. of apprentices is vital to Ace Electricinstruction, it takes four years for anAce has made it clear that they want their maintaining a productive workforce. apprentice to reach the journeyman level. competitors to benefit from the program as well. If we introduce new groups of We have one instructor at our ValdostaWith the demanding need for morehighly skilled electricians into the region, division, which means we are limited incommercial electricians, Wiregrass Techeveryone will benefit.the number of employees we can movedeveloped the Commercial Electrical through our apprenticeship program,Construction Technology diploma andWilliams explains that Wiregrass Tech degree programs. developed the curriculum and modeled it from IEC courses, which are used for traditional electrician apprenticeships. Both programs are recognized and certified by the DOL, and students who complete the program are considered a journeyman electrician. Ace Electric also awarded $25,000 to Wiregrass Tech to build a custom-designed classroom to support instruction for the Commercial Electrical Construction Technology programs.Williams says the commercial electrical construction program has the potential to recruit young people into a field that they might not have considered.It is already filling the employment needs of the Ace program, he says. As the program grows, we expect to have other companies begin to hire students to help meet their employment needs as well. It will make a huge impact on the number of highly skilled electricians in the region. 38 SG MAGAZINE| FALL 2019 BUSINESS + CULTURE39'