High demand, low supply of workers: Program trains people to become professional electricians

SAN ANTONIO – There’s a high demand for electricians in the area, and jobs are available.

John Martin with South Texas Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee said he has 15 positions that could be filled now if he had applicants.

The on-the-job training program helps place students on a job, starting on day one. They get paid more than $14 an hour and the pay increases the longer they are there until the end of the five-year program, when they make $75,000 a year.

“If you like to build, create, design, work with your hands, if you don’t mind being out in the elements, if you’re not scared to sweat, work hard, if you have a good work ethic, that usually makes a pretty good craftsman," Martin said.

Applicants must be 18 years old and have a high school degree and must have taken algebra. They must also pass an entry reading and math exam.

“Completing the program is nothing more than a springboard into the advanced stages of their elected profession,” Martin said.  

The contractors who work with JATC pay into the program to help support it. Apprentices are required to pay an annual $750 fee to stay on, but scholarships are available.  

Once the apprenticeship is over, the program participants receive a state license and national certification to help them get a job anywhere in the United States, Canada or Puerto Rico.

Currently, there are about 300 apprentices, who are each required to attend two full days of classroom work every month.

St. Philip's College also offers an electrical program in which students can earn an associate’s degree and can finish with a level 1 and level 2 certification. It takes about three semesters to complete the level 2 certification and about five semesters for an associate’s degree.

The college is partnering with JATC. The college students will be given training internships, and those in the JATC program will be able to get college credits in case they want to earn a degree or advance their learning to a different level.

St. Philip's College is also looking ahead to partner with the University of Texas at San Antonio to ensure its students can earn credit that will be accepted toward earning a bachelor’s degree at the university.

For more information on the South Texas Electrical JATC, call 210-225-8900.

About the Author:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.