After a year of college and four years working various jobs, Matt Doth took the advice his electrician father had given him for years, and applied to be an electrician apprentice.
The career move is lighting a bright future for the 28-year-old husband and father of two, who recently won the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) National Apprentice of the Year Competition in Phoenix, Arizona.
The three-day competition featured a written exam, a ladder logic diagram, a hands-on motor control problem, conduit bending, troubleshooting, and a timed productivity challenge. Matt scored highest among the 25 competitors.
“I was confident in my skills going into the competition and was thrilled when I won,” Matt said. “It really validated my career choice knowing that I beat out other competitors at my skill level.”
Matt completed his apprenticeship in the spring of 2017. The West Harrison, Indiana, resident is now employed with Ohio-based BizCom Electric, a company that provides commercial and industrial electrical services.
“The skilled trades are really in demand, and jobs for talented trade workers will always be available,” Matt said of his decision to follow in his father’s footsteps. “With apprenticeship, you learn on the job, and classroom lessons are followed by real-life experience doing the task.”
Matt added that he is making more than most of his friends who have a four-year college degree, and without the student loan debt. Mean annual wages for electricians in the United States are $56,650, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Established in 1957, IEC represents America's independent electrical and systems contractors. The IEC electrical apprenticeship is a four-year, 576-hour curriculum. IEC is also part of the Department of Labor’s college consortium program, through which apprentices can earn up to 40 college credits.
Editor’s note: Matt’s story is one example of an effective workforce program in action. View more success stories here.
Rhonda Burke is a Public Affairs Specialist for the Department in Chicago.