A Quality Job and a Wonderful Life
Katelyn St. Pierre is an electrical apprentice with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 7 in Springfield, Massachusetts. Currently in the fourth year of a five-year apprenticeship, the 28-year-old Westfield native has already found a stable job working for Coghlin Electrical Contractors of Worcester.
After attending college briefly, Katelyn worked odd jobs and apprenticed for her father doing electrical work. By working with him, she became passionate about electricity. She was attracted to the IBEW apprenticeship by the training opportunities, as well as the wages and benefits.
As an apprentice, she has learned how to install pipe runs, wire ways, lights, outlets, and electrical panels, and bring power to elevators. She has also completed OSHA 10- and 30-hour safety classes, and the National Fire Protection Association 70E Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace course.
“What I like most about my job is the ability to make things work,” said Katelyn. “I take a lot of pride in making my work look nice, and when everything is installed and hooked up, and the power gets turned on, it really is a great feeling to see things light up.”
During the second year of her apprenticeship, Katelyn gave birth to a daughter.
“I was able to work through much of my pregnancy and was treated with the utmost respect by my coworkers and the staff of the apprenticeship program,” she said. “You can still have a family and live a wonderful life when you are a tradeswoman. I have a wonderful job that allows me to provide my daughter with everything she wants and needs.”
Local 7’s apprentice program is a part of the Springfield Electrical Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee, and is networked with the National Electrical Contractors Association.
To find out more about apprenticeship opportunities in your area, or to learn how to start a program, visit www.dol.gov/apprenticeship.
Editor’s note: Katelyn's story is one example of an effective workforce program in action. View more success stories here.
James Lally is a public affairs specialist for the Labor Department in Boston.