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Local Electric Company Launches Accredited Apprenticeship Program

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Local Electric Company Launches Accredited Apprenticeship Program

A local electric company has begun an accredited apprenticeship program to help provide work experience for those in trade professions.

Steve Van De Voorde is the owner of Van De Voorde Services. He said it has been in the works for at least five years, and is a project near to his heart.

“You want to prepare yourself to be an asset to an employee somewhere down the line,” Van De Voorde said. “And these programs consist of not only specific electrical skill trades that they need to work their way to be a journeyman, but we also have incorporated life skills.”

The program currently has two 2021 Cookeville High School graduates, two 2020 graduates, and a Tennessee Tech grad participating in the program in its first accredited year. The apprenticeship program has students learning under skilled employers with classroom and on-the-job training, all while being paid.

Van De Voorde said many programs of this nature went away recently at the high school level because of a lack of participation. He said many people didn’t see themselves going into the trade profession.

As a result, many trades have struggled to find the skilled workers to complete projects. Van De Voorde said there is a huge need for trade workers, not just in the electrical world. HVAC, welders, carpenters, auto mechanics, are all in high demand.

“This has been an ongoing process for the last five years,” Van De Voorde said. “(…)We’ve had such a demand for it that we see, as long as our workload keeps up, that we’ll start at least another five in the midterm in January. We’re very excited and these young people have taken it under their wing. And they see the opportunities, and we’ve laid out a plan for them with wages and benefits being a big part of that package. They can see where they’re going to be at the end of these next four years.”

Van De Voorde said they heard from a wide array of people about the program, and that he’s excited to be a part of training the next generation of tradesmen.


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