Daily News

Elm Electrical Creates Program to Educate Teenagers About Electrical Careers

WESTFIELD — Elm Electrical has created a new program for high-school students interested in the electrical field. The students, in grades 10-12, were recommended by their teachers or Elm employees to attend this free, four-day training seminar. These prospective co-op students, or Elm Futures, were then invited to join Elm educators learn new skills as well as showcase their own talents at the First Steps Training Seminar.

Monday through Wednesday, students receive instruction and training in the state-of-the-art Elm University multi-media classrooms and hands-on lab. Thursday, the final day, is Challenge Day, when students apply what they’ve learned and complete a project board challenge. Elm project managers are invited to evaluate their work, offer feedback, and get to know the students.

“This is a great opportunity to showcase and utilize our training facility, expose kids to the electrical field, as well as instruct our current and future workforce,” instructor Paul Asselin said. “At the same time, we can get them excited about the field and see what the kids can do. Do they follow our strict safety protocols? Do they ask questions? Do they work well with others? Is their work accurate? Do they have a positive attitude? This gives us a snapshot of what they’d look like as potential co-op students on the job.

“This program also gives kids who don’t attend a technical school the chance to see if the electrical field is something they may be interested in pursuing,” he added. “Oftentimes students who go to a traditional high school think it’s too late to go into a trade. We make sure they know there is still an opportunity to pursue a career in the field.”

Two sessions were held in late June. Session 3 is taking place this week. “We had a great first two sessions, and I’m looking forward to getting to know a new group of kids this week,” Asselin said.

The Elm University classrooms and lab are used year-round as Elm’s in-house training facility. Employees who want to become licensed electricians can opt into the company’s four-year apprentice program. They can work their jobs Monday through Thursday and then, every other Friday, attend school at Elm University for free.

“This is a great option for those who don’t want to have to go to night school. In four years, students will be ready to sit for their exam to be licensed electricians,” Asselin said. “Adding our First Steps Futures program to our Elm U program really allows us to groom our future workforce from the very beginning.”