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SOUTH CTE STUDENTS LEARN ABOUT OPPORTUNITIES WITH ELECTRICIANS UNION

Dan Kraus sstands next to a Pueblo South High School studentFor those students who want to join the working world straight out of high school, there exist few more personally and financially rewarding careers than that of an electrician.
 
So noted Dan Kraus, a graduate of South High School who returned to his alma mater to visit with Career and Technical Education students about electrical apprenticeships.
 
Mr. Kraus, training director for Pueblo Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee, was accompanied by Jessica Simpson, who is in her second year of the four-year apprenticeship.
 
Stressing that he was not trying to dissuade students from attending college, Mr. Kraus instead pointed out the many benefits associated with an electrical apprenticeship: a four-year trek that culminates with the title journeyman once a required test is passed.
 
“In a four-year apprenticeship, you can earn $160,000,” Mr. Kraus told the assembled Colts. “Now, a college graduate may come out of college owing $160,000, plus.”
 
From the day the apprenticeship begins, apprentices earn $15.25 an hour, with that climbing each year of the apprenticeship.
 
Apprentices also receive excellent health care coverage and other benefits.
 
In retirement, a union electrician will earn more than during his or her working years, the South students learned.
 
Electricians work on every type of project imaginable: residences, businesses, hospitals, airports and schools, as examples.
 
“Right now, we have apprentices working on the new East High School and the rewiring of Central,” Mr. Kraus explained.
 
During an apprenticeship, a minimum of 8,000 on-the-job hours is required, along with 900 classroom hours.
 
“We are partnered with Emily Griffith Technical College and our apprentices get, on the average, 45 college credits when they’re done,” Mr. Kraus added.
Ms. Simpson said she finds electrical work very rewarding.
 
“Before this, I was doing automation,” she said. “But I kind of hit a ceiling there. I love working for IBEW. Not only do we get very good pay, we get amazing medical and pension, and the opportunity to travel and do different things all the time.
 
“Plus, I have the opportunity to become a master electrician, and open my own company.”
 
Ms. Simpson is one of the apprentices working on the rewiring of Central.
 
“We show up at 4 in the afternoon and work until 2 in the morning,” she said. “We’re not only doing the outlets but putting in new lighting, new gear and feeders, too. As an apprentice, you start working immediately, under the guidance of a journeyman.”
 
For information on apprenticeship opportunities, visit www.pueblojatc.org