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One of the beauties of the close of each year, and the holiday season, is that both make us reflective. Reflective of our personal and business lives.

Actor as Charles Dickens character

Our personal and business lives are separate- but intertwined. One informs the other, and certainly one colors the other. If only once a year (I hope it’s more than once a year) it’s a good practice to look at our selves and our practices to see if they square with our mission and goals.

IEC Chesapeake (IECC) has been both my personal and professional passion for twenty- three years. As Executive Director, I have the pleasure of working with a great Education Department, chapter Membership Staff, and dedicated electricians that teach in our four- year electrical (both brick and mortar and online) apprenticeship program. We also have staff dedicated to a three- year Telecomm Technician apprenticeship.

I am confident we honestly strive to meet our core mission of training for the electrical trade(s).

I am confident we will continue to build outside of our own four walls- relationships such as our partnership with the IEC Central PA chapter allowing us to open a joint venture apprenticeship program in York, Pennsylvania, January 2019.

Relationships like the one we enjoy with the Maryland Department of Labor and Howard County Public School System promoting Electrical Pre-Apprenticeship; the news here:

“…Labor Secretary Kelly M. Schulz announced funding for the second cohort of the Pathways to Success Electrical Pre-Apprenticeship Program. The only opportunity of its kind in Maryland, the Pathways program prepares motivated youth through classroom instruction and hands-on skills training for employment and registered apprenticeship in one of the fastest growing occupations in construction.

“Youth apprenticeship provides young workers with a head start on a career pathway by building valuable skills and a professional network,” said Secretary Schulz. “Through the Pathways to Success program, Howard County students will gain real-life experience performing meaningful work in a high-demand industry, with an opportunity to continue into a registered apprenticeship program following graduation.”

Pathways to Success is a collaboration between the Department of Labor, Howard County Office of Workforce Development, Howard County Public School System (HCPSS), and the Independent Electrical Contractors Chesapeake (IEC). Through this pre-apprenticeship program, up to 15 youth from the Career Research and Development (CRD) program at HCPSS and Howard County Office of Workforce Development will be given an opportunity to begin a career in the electrical trade.” MDDLR website

I am confident that IECC continues to promote to all students, especially high school age, that they have many higher education options.  Electrical apprenticeship not only fits squarely in the wheelhouse of the mechanically and mathematically minded student, but also offers a real world, in real time, skill set making them highly employable.

Education, opportunities, and employment. Isn’t this what we want for everyone? When we give everyone the option and opportunity to thrive, all of our businesses thrive- and eventually our community thrives.

Mankind really is our business. Let’s make 2019 an even bigger year for education opportunities. Include the trades and apprenticeship in your higher education options- you’ll be glad you did.

Grant Shmelzer, Executive Director  
IEC Chesapeake/IECC