How COM helps companies train their employees for free

A grant at College of the Mainland provides free technical training for those who qualify, and a Galveston-based electric company One Eleven Electric is taking advantage of it.

Three of the company’s electrical apprentices are taking evening classes after work to help them advance in the field and prepare for state licensing tests.

One will take the residential wireman test soon to advance to the next level, which comes with $3 per hour pay raise.

“To be able to move forward, you have to have both sides – book knowledge and on-the-job skills,” said Henry Bell, owner of One Eleven Electric. 

The employees work 40 hours a week on the job but the class dives into the theories, terms and math behind electrical work.

“The class gives them a broader view of electricity. We explain how to do it, but the class shows them why,” said Bell. “The OSHA 10 training helps too. The more safety they know, the better for us.”

In classes, students calculate voltage, practice wiring a building, and bend and install conduit.Courses follow NCCER curriculum and allow students to earn nationally recognized NCCER credentials.

Electrical instructors are Joe Sandoval, Eddie Chambers and Warnie Welch, who are all master electricians with nearly 40 years of experience each.

“We cover electrical theory and how to apply it to troubleshooting. We discuss how to install electrical systems and how to maintain them,” said Sandoval. 

After gaining certifications, students are in high demand. By 2020 opportunities for electricians will increase by 8.3 percent along the Gulf Coast, according to the Gulf Coast Workforce Development Board.

The median hourly wage for electricians is $24.94 and for electrician helpers it is $13.81, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“The training helps students advance in employment, earn raises and get more hours,” said Chris Hollman, H1-B Grant project coordinator. “Employers benefit from more qualified employees without paying for their training.”

Employers can select to have their employees trained in a variety of crafts at COM through the grant. Other options include NCCER instrumentation, NCCER pipefitting, mechanical maintenance technician, CNC or manual machinist, drafting, Lean Six Sigma and project management.

The H1-B Gulf Coast Ready to Work Grant trains not only those who need training to advance their skills for their current jobs but also individuals who are unemployed or underemployed. It is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration.

For more information, call 409-933-8643, email GCRTW-Grant@com.edu or visit www.com.edu/ce/gcrtw-grant.

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