Select Page

Four years of classes. Four years of exams, assignments due. Four years to the “payoff”. When you get through the four years, the power of completion.

African American father and son embracing at graduation

No. Not college.

Electrical Apprenticeship to the Journeyman status. It’s the “other” four-year degree. Our students are held financially responsible for their tuition, must be employed with an electrician by the second semester of the first year, and must work while they attend classes for the remaining three years. It’s a rigorous schedule.

Comparatively, there are not a whole lot of mainstream college degrees where you are highly employable, let alone employed, by the time you graduate. Typically debt free; typically earning roughly $50K a year.

I love graduation. I look forward to it every year. I’m not an electrician, but I certainly understand the pride of degree completion. That pride should be no less for the apprentice than the baccalaureate. I’ve seen the pride on graduating apprentices faces these last twenty plus years- and their families faces.

The power of completion does not stop at the feet of the graduate; it extends to the friends and family who cheered them on and reminded them about their end game.

The power of completion allows graduates to go forward as Journeymen; earning the respect that licensure demands and earning a wage that can take care of a family.

The power of completion makes them the next condo owner, townhouse purchaser, car buyer. The power of completion affirms their status as an integral part of the earning and consuming population that keeps our economy moving.

I’m not a parent, but the parents I have spoken with over the years share that the power of completion is seeing their son or daughter prepared, prideful, and ready to meet the world on their own two feet. These are not parents wondering what their adult child is capable of or going to do with their lives.

They’re doing it.

I like this anonymous quote, “ All that stands between the graduate and the top of the ladder is the ladder.”

This moment is where you will earn your Honors- not in school.

IEC Chesapeake grads…you do us proud.

-Grant Shmelzer
Executive Director, IEC Chesapeake