Students Go Hands-On with Electrical Trade at Educating Children of Color Summit
February 25, 2020 – Colorado Springs, CO — The untapped potential of the next generation of electricians is out there, and students are waiting for their shot to get a good career and a good life based on their own hard work.
That’s the idea behind Encore Electric’s continued outreach and education on the electrical trade to students from all walks of life. At the Educating Children of Color Summit, held in Colorado Springs on Saturday, January 18, 2020, these students got a chance to see what a future career in the electrical industry could hold for them.
JR Bond, Ken Stott, Ian Romero and Alec Hemphill all took part in the summit for Encore Electric. They set up three stations, including a Pipe Bending station, an educational station about why they should consider a life as an electrician, and a station that gave them an opportunity to explore the Encore Electric Mobile Escape Room.
“They were a great bunch of kids and asked good questions,” said JR Bond, Director of Southern Colorado. “It seemed to me the young ladies were engaged more than we thought, and especially in the conduit bending and seemed to have fun actually bending conduit.”
A lesson in pipe bending has really seemed to attract students wherever groups of Encore Electric teammates are talking to students. For some of the students, this type of hands-on activity seems to come as second nature to them, despite the media’s caricature of them as only interested in their phones.
“Once the first few kids gave pipe-bending a shot, all the others became interested,” said Alec Hemphill, journeyman. “I was pretty impressed with how natural it came to some of them, and it was good to see their enthusiasm.”
The students also had an opportunity to try their hands at the Encore Electric Mobile Escape Room. The trailer, which has logged many thousands of miles and served hundreds of students since it launched last year, is a practical way for students to apply their problem-solving skills in a fun and technical way. Each student has an opportunity to wire up each of the four stations and take a short test-run with what it might be like to work in the electrical field every day.
“They had some very eager questions that wanted to ask us about the trade,” said Ken Stott, foreman. “We had a great turnout for the conduit bending area as well.”
The 794 HS students and 68 college students at the Educating Children of Color Summit had the choice of multiple sessions, including construction. In all, the summit awarded 21 laptops, $14,500 in scholarships and 16 educational gifts of $500 to attendees.
“I was amazed that our construction session was filled primarily with female students,” said Stella Hodgkins from GE Johnson. “These sessions were self-selected by the students which goes to show that there’s hope for the gender gap in our industry.”
“Getting in the trades is a great alternative to college,” said Bond. “As fast as the trades are growing, even if you want to attend college a student needs to consider a trade school to get the best of both worlds. If someone has a good work ethic and they’re willing to put in the time, the trades are very rewarding.”