Challenging work, fair compensation, job security – if you had the opportunity to gain all three without the expense and debt most people encounter on a traditional college path, would you take it?
In his 2014 State of the Union address, President Obama promised to task his administration with determining the best job-readiness programs around the country – the ones that were successful in helping adult learners find better jobs at a livable wage. That review, which would later become the Ready to Work initiative, found what was working and put Memphis-based Mid-South Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) on its list of exemplary programs. Since then, Mid-South IEC’s apprenticeships have been recognized by the US. Department of Labor's Bureau Office of Apprenticeship, Veterans Affairs, and the American Council on Education (ACE).
Among the apprenticeships offered is the Voice-Data- Video (VDV) Apprenticeship Program, a two-year opportunity providing 2,000 hours of on-the- job experience and 160 hours of classroom instruction per year. Mid-South IEC’s VDV Apprenticeship is nationally recognized by the U.S. Departments of Labor’s Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training and Veteran’s Affairs. Locally, the Workforce Investment Network (WIN) approved the VDV Apprenticeship Program as a partner in providing job skills training for qualifying unemployed and underemployed community members.
This program provides training in fields ranging from wiring and fiber optics (in the first year) to broadband and alarm (in the second year). Mid-South IEC also offers the Electrical Apprenticeship, as well as three BICSI certifications, including certifications for installing copper and fiber. The VDV apprenticeship combines theoretical understanding and a practical approach to give adult learners everything they need to achieve a successful career in the low voltage installations industry.
While apprenticing, students will begin as employees of members of the IEC at a half rate of pay. During training, Mid-South IEC apprentices are given incremental raises corresponding to the number of on-the- job and classroom hours completed. Upon successful completion, apprentices become qualified low-voltage installers and can apply for jobs available throughout the country. In particular, graduates of Mid-South IEC’s apprenticeship programs can expect a significant amount of commercial and residential work available throughout West Tennessee, Northern Mississippi, and Eastern Arkansas.