Mike Burdick of Queensbury, N.Y. went to college because that was what was expected of him after graduating from high school.
When Burdick graduated college, he realized he wasn’t getting the job offers that he needed to not only make a living, but also pay off the student loans that he accumulated. He began working as a chef, but that provided inconsistent pay and hours.
Then, he discovered a better option. Burdick applied to the Tri-City Joint Apprenticeship Committee’s five-year electrical apprenticeship program.
Burdick’s journey to a rewarding career is detailed in an article in The Post Star, which highlights the fact that a college degree does not guarantee a successful career.
Currently, Burdick is finishing up his electrical apprenticeship, where he will soon become a journeyman and receive a 20 percent wage increase.
Registered apprenticeship programs allow students to earn while they learn, meaning apprentices receive a combination of classroom, lab and on-the-job training, where the hours on actual jobsites are paid. As apprentices gain experience, their wages go up.
First-year apprentices in the Tri-City Joint Apprenticeship electrical program will start at $14 per hour, and work their way up to making $30 per hour after they complete their apprenticeship.
What made a huge impression on Burdick to make the jump to a registered apprenticeship? The benefits.
“I have health insurance, pension, annuities — I didn’t even know what some of that stuff was before,” said Burdick in the Post Star article.
Burdick encourages high school students to consider a registered apprenticeship with one of the building trades. If one of the trades interests them, he suggests getting started right after graduating high school.
“Give it six months, and if you don’t like it, then try college,” he said. “If it works out, you’re going to save a ton of money.”
Burdick now has a house, wife and a baby on the way who he can provide for because of the choice he made.
As more and more experienced construction workers become eligible to retire, combined with construction booms in many parts of the country, the need will continue to grow for more people to enter registered apprentice programs and start their careers in the construction industry.
If you are interested in learning more about a registered apprenticeship program with the electrical trades and the wages you can earn, take a moment and look around this website.