Investing in America's Workers: Q & A with Carlos Morales
Carlos Morales met Labor Secretary Marty Walsh during a Secretary trip to California and shared his experience as an industrial maintenance electrician apprentice. We asked Carlos more about his path from warehouse worker - earning just enough to pay bills - to a thriving apprenticeship with a bright future ahead.
Tell us more about yourself and your work experience prior to becoming an apprentice.
My name is Carlos Morales, and I worked in warehouses for over 18 years, making approximately $16 an hour. I had the opportunity to work in all departments, from receiving all the way through shipping. I also was an inventory and safety lead. My last experience was in a manufacturing facility where I built kitchen cabinets.
What led you to pursue the Industrial Electrical and Mechanical Pre-Apprenticeship opportunity?
I wanted to study electricity here in the United States, but I didn’t have enough time or money to go to school. Then, a co-worker told me about the resources offered at the Chaffey College InTech Center. The opportunity to attend classes presented itself during the pandemic, which gave me time and access to financial resources offered by InTech, in collaboration with the San Bernardino County Workforce Development Department. In January 2021, I reassessed my goals and committed myself to start a new career path through the pre-apprenticeship program.
How do you hope your apprenticeship experience will benefit your future career goals?
I was able to attend and complete the Industrial Electrical and Mechanical Pre-Apprenticeship in about four months. Near the end of the program, staff and instructors helped me find a great job opportunity at California Steel Industries. I applied for a registered apprenticeship position at CSI and was hired as an industrial maintenance electrician apprentice. Today, after a year working at CSI, I became an industrial electrician B, and by summer 2023, I’m confident I will become an industrial electrician A, where I will have achieved journey-level status and completed the apprenticeship program. In two-and-a-half years, my hourly rate will have more than doubled from my previous position building kitchen cabinets.
What words of encouragement would you give to someone interested in the same apprenticeship-to- career pathway you’re on?
I have told my friends and family that all the resources offered at the Chaffey College InTech Center exceeded all my expectations. The staff will help you from day one, all the way to your graduation day. Also, the quality of the study material in this program and the instructor’s knowledge and experience are great.
During these times, automation is taking away a lot of regular jobs. However, it is also opening opportunities for those who want to learn the necessary skills to fix the automatic machines the industry is requiring today. Chaffey College InTech Center has the right formula to help you acquire these new skills.