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Read What Apprentices At IBEW Local 26 In Washington, D.C. Have To Say About Their Union Apprenticeships

Published Monday, November 29, 2021
by IBEW Local 26 News
Read What Apprentices At IBEW Local 26 In Washington, D.C. Have To Say About Their Union Apprenticeships

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - There is no ideal Apprenticeship candidate, only one who is willing to learn.  Each applicate comes to the program with their own unique perspective and the journey for each one is equally unique.  

So, what do they all have in common?

For a variety of reasons - be it the pay, benefits, consistent schedule or the opportunity to learn and get paid while in school, a Union Apprenticeship provides the chance at a fulfilling career with limitless potential.

Stephanie Lashley is no exception.

She came across the program at a time in her life when things felt a bit stagnant and uncertain.

It was then that a friend back home recommended she look into becoming an Electrician just as he had done.

“I was in an admin job, I wasn’t really making that much money, it felt very dead-end and he (my friend) recommended I become an Electrician,” Lashley said.

With no prior knowledge about the career field, she applied for the Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committee Program at Washington, D.C.’s International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 26 - and was accepted.

Now in her second year, Lashley says that the training started with the basics, learning about materials, what goes into the construction, pipe bending and the math that’s often involved in electrical work.

“My trigonometry (all those years ago) came in handy!  There’s a lot to learn when you’re starting off green but the best thing to do is just have a good attitude,” she says.

Lashley admits her friend had prepared her for what to expect in the field, such as lots of construction sites, commercial buildings and a ton of hard work.

Something she didn’t expect?

The comradery.

“I was surprised by how the people made me feel, I was very pleasantly surprised.  They did not make me feel like I was under qualified or imposter syndrome, like why are you here kind of thing.  They were very welcoming and they’ve taught me a lot so far,” she said.

For James Moss, the experience has been similar, but the journey to get there was different.

Starting out his education and career across the bridge at Salisbury University, Moss graduated college and was a reserve Marine working full time as a Non-Union Electrician when a friend of his mentioned the benefits of an Apprenticeship Program at IBEW Local 26.

The competitive side of Moss didn’t want to miss out on what was inevitably a strategic career move, with his ultimate goal being retirement.

“(My long-term goal is) Get to retirement, learn as much as I can and be as helpful as I can along the way,” Moss said.

What surprised him the most about the program was how well the 40-hour work-week and the Apprenticeship/schooling portion are integrated together - allowing each participant to make a living wage while in school.

This means each Apprentice gets the learning and on-the-job experience they need - all without accruing any debt unlike many degree programs.

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