Nine students from the Daytona Beach Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training program (JATC), otherwise known as the Don Morgan Electrical Academy, graduated last month and walked with their caps and gowns alongside Daytona State College graduates, a first that anyone in the program can remember. Graduates will be awarded a vocational certificate of completion from Daytona State College (DSC), while the Florida Department of Education will award the apprenticeship completion certificate.
Scott Jarvis has been the training director for the JATC since 2006. He also graduated from the program in 1989 and currently oversees five instructors along with the 40 to 50 students attending the apprenticeship classes. “We are so proud of these graduates, they have dedicated four years to learning the trade and working 8,000 on the job hours and 900 classroom hours each," said Jarvis. “Students attend program classes at night and all work for our local Signatory Contractors during the day, so it’s no easy task,” he added. Jarvis said that the program receives 70 to 80 applications each year, and accepts between 20 and 30.
The attrition rate for students is around 50%. Out of the nine current graduates, four students are performing small jobs by themselves already. This year, one female student was among the graduates, something Jarvis said he has not seen since 2010.
“Many people don’t realized that the average electrician makes $5,000 a year more than the average college graduate,” said Byron Overstreet, vice president of Giles Electric Co. “The country is going to need a lot more skilled tradespeople with the baby-boom workers retiring, leaving openings for millennials," he added. According to a recent interview on NPR with Anthony Carnevale, the director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, there are 600,000 jobs for electricians in the country today, and about half of those will open up over the next decade.
Four of the graduates have jobs lined up at Giles Electric, and the remainder of the graduates will continue their work with other local electrical companies. Some past graduates have been employed locally with the school board, cities, and council electrical divisions and electrical construction contractors.