An Apprentice's Perspective

Justin Gerlach went from job to job, always searching for a career that would offer something better for himself and his growing family. One of Justin's friends, who worked in the electrical industry, encouraged him to enroll in the apprenticeship program. Needless to say, Justin's search for something better has come to an end.

How did your experience as a lineman prepare you for your current job?

Years of working in the field gave me the perspective of what life is like doing line work under real conditions. My background has definitely played a major role in developing a mutual trust and respect between the workers in the field and myself. This in turn, helps me to communicate and to motivate the crews to not only take an active part in implementing and improving safe work practices but more importantly, to take ownership in it as well.

What's a typical day like for an apprentice?

After discussing the day's workload with the foreman, I am responsible for fueling the vehicles and getting all the tools and material ready for the job. When I'm on the job, I'm always thinking about my next move, making certain I have things ready to go and doing the job in safest manner possible.

How valuable is the coursework?

The coursework gives you the reason "why" which helps you understand and learn the “how." The materials available in the classroom and the quality of the instructors make it a great atmosphere for learning.

What are your career goals?

Right now, I would like to learn the most I can about becoming a lineman. I could see myself training newcomers and apprentices in the future.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

As a lineman, I have the skills necessary to apply to different types of work within the industry, plus the freedom to move and work from state to state.

What is the least rewarding aspect of your job?

I'll admit, the traveling is a hardship on my family, but it's a necessary sacrifice to achieve the financial and career stability this industry offers.