Through Competition and Hands-On Experience, the Mobile Escape Room Introduces Young People to the Electrical Trade
September 28, 2022 – Lakewood, CO — Encore Electric is on a mission to develop the next generation of electricians.
With the help of the Encore Electric Mobile Escape Room, which takes a unique approach to this mission, the Encore Electric team gives young people hands-on experience with the trade that they cannot get anywhere else. The idea of the mobile escape room was born after Encore Electric saw something was missing in getting new electricians interested and connected with the trade.
“We had learned that students didn’t understand our lab boards and were afraid of being shocked by equipment they didn’t understand,” said David Scott, director of external affairs at Encore Electric. “As a non-electrician I said, ‘how do people interact with electricity?’ Lights and switches – nothing scary about that.”
After brainstorming and designing the escape room, Encore Electric’s very own electricians worked to build and wire the escape room challenges. Encore Electric built the challenges using everyday technology that the kids would recognize and feel comfortable interacting with.
Escape room fun begins the moment students arrive, with a slide show on everything a young person may want to know regarding entering the electrical trade. Major topics of the presentation include the educational timeline of an electrician, career possibilities within the trade, and benefits of joining Encore Electric.
“The trailer and presenters engaged the students with an excellent PowerPoint presentation and a targeted question and answer session,” said La Verne Buchanan-Donelson, internship coordinator for Denver Public Schools. “We want to thank you and your team for this wonderful opportunity for our students.”
Students are introduced to the benefits of the trades for what may be their first time. Presenters from Encore Electric inform the attendees of the financial differences between a traditional four-year degree and entering the electrical trade where apprentices are compensated for their time from day one. Also explained is the long list of future career opportunities available once entering the trade. From superintendent, to estimator, to vice president, a career path in the trade knows no bounds.
“The value the escape room brings is that it exposes young people to the mindset that electrical is a viable career path and that it is something that can be challenging, yet exciting and most of the time a path that most have never even considered,” said Zack Westberg, foreman. “It gives them an insight that electrical has many different career paths that they could look forward to in challenging them in life.”
With limitless possibility also comes limitless opportunity for lifelong learning and education that a career with Encore Electric can offer. From on-the-job training and Encore University to career counseling and goal planning, there are chances and resources to grow at every stage.
Following the presentation, students jump into the escape challenges. iPads are distributed to participants and the challenge begins. Students begin a virtual scavenger hunt in a digital model version of the escape room for an egg containing wiring instructions for the stations. Once the egg is found, groups enter the real escape room and start on the first of four electrical stations.
Students are timed for how quickly they can complete the stations. A chance to compete while testing their mechanical aptitude doing something new makes for a memorable task for the students. Currently, the record for the fastest escape room completion is currently held by a group from Glenwood Springs. Tim Cohn, Business Unit Leader, was a witness to the record-breaking competition through the escape room. Cohn recalls the excitement amongst the students as they raced to beat the previous best time.
“It’s so cool to see it in action,” said Cohn. “For kids to get competitive being able to touch it and see it brings a lot more fun and interest in electrical.”
Paul Engebretson, who has accompanied the trailer for the past few years, has found great joy helping young people expand their minds to new possibilities for their futures and find something they enjoy doing.
“Seeing the looks on their faces when they finally get it is so great, you’re seeing young people find something they like that they’ve never done before,” said Engebretson.
“The best thing about the trailer is that it’s a great conversation starter. It breaks the ice with the kids, and gives you a chance to connect with them,” said Michael Beal, estimator.
Having traveled to nearly 100 events throughout Colorado and surrounding states in the last several years, hundreds of young people have experienced the escape room, building connections with Encore Electric and the electrical trade.
“I spent some time in the escape room trailer, it was fantastic,” said Aaron Ragon, Douglas County School District. “I sent a bunch of students through to explore and I am so impressed,”
“We’re planting seeds for people to get into the industry,” said Encore Electric Foreman Josh Pizzino. “It’s a lasting impression that they won’t get just anywhere.”
Building future generations of electricians is hugely important to Encore Electric. Extending a hand to the community via our mobile escape room allows us to connect face to face with young people and introduce them to the opportunities that await them in the trade.