CATEC Registered Apprenticeship Student Example of Success in the Skilled Trades

Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical Education Center (CATEC) Second Year Electrical Apprentice Adrian Rosas is taking advantage of all career opportunities CATEC has to offer in the skilled trades. Rosas was a 2017-2018 Building Trades student who knew he had a passion for electrical work, having worked in the construction industry with his family. Building Trades and Electrical Instructor Sidney Trimmer says Rosas “told me the day he showed up for Building Trades he wanted to be an electrician.” Rosas was able to parlay his passion for electrical work into a Youth Registered Apprenticeship and has returned to CATEC for two more years as an electrical student. He is currently enrolled as an Electrical III student and works for Design Electric in its Prefab department.

Award-Winning Student

Rosas received college credit from Piedmont Virginia Community College while enrolled in the Building Trades program. During this time, he competed in SkillsUSA competitions and obtained his OSHA-10 certification. He studied the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Core Curriculum, a program secondary career and technical education students take that cover topics related to safety, communication, and construction drawing, and earned the NCCER CORE credential. Success in this program affords students basic skills to continue their education in the skilled trades. Specifically, for Rosas, his NCCER training counts towards his Apprenticeship related technical instruction. 

In the spring of 2018, Rosas was encouraged take part in Design Electric’s “Boot Camp.” This event exposed CATEC Building Trades and Electrical students, as well as community adults, to various skills and professional qualities needed to be successful in the Electrical field. Students who attended learned a particular skill and then had to perform a task related to that skill. Attendees were required to show proficiency in reading a tape measure and knowledge in safety protocols. Select attendees were offered employment with Design Electric and would have the opportunity to be Registered Apprentices. Design Electric is a growing electrical contractor specializing in large projects in central and western Virginia. Design Electric’s Casey Carwile says “having skilled electrical workers is vital to the bottom line in providing our customers with good, quality commercial electrical installations. Producing great, quality workers is what we do at Design Electric.”

Becoming a Youth Registered Apprentice

Rosas was selected to be a Youth Registered Apprentice with Design Electric. Rosas says “I am very honored to have had the help from Mr. Trimmer, Mrs. Tomlin, and Mrs. Jay at CATEC. They really helped push me into a direction of the Apprenticeship program. Seeing how far I have come really amazes me.” Trimmer says Rosas was a good candidate for the program because he “doesn’t mind working hard.” Design Electric’s Carwile says Rosas has a “good work ethic, willingness to learn, and is teachable. Adrian is willing to try new things, is a good team player, and prides himself on providing quality electrical components.” In May 2019, Rosas and Design Electric participated in the SkillsUSA and Klein Tools National Signing Day. CATEC was selected as a hosting school to celebrate skilled trades students’ commitment to apprentice for local employers.

Working as a Youth Registered Apprentice requires a lot of commitment and hard work. But, Rosas approaches it as “hard work does pay off!” Three days a week he works 10-hour days at Design Electric. Two days a week he rises at 6:00 am and works for Design Electric until noon each day. In the afternoon, Rosas attends Monticello High School for his required academic classes. Then once a week for three hours, he takes Adult Education Electrical courses at CATEC. He receives high school credit for attending CATEC during his work day also gets paid for his work at Design Electric; a true “earn as you learn” model of instruction. Of all of this commitment, Rosas says “attending work, high school, and night classes for my Journeyman license can be a lot for someone, but I think about it as this is my goal and my future and something I look forward to doing.”

Getting on the Job Training

As a Youth Registered Apprentice, Rosas’s work experiences consist of on-the-job training, including 8,000 hours required for Electricians, and 144 hours per year of related technical skills instruction. Youth Registered Apprenticeships provide valuable work-based learning opportunities for youth with academic and workplace curriculum that leads to post-secondary education options and careers. Businesses, workforce professionals, and educators see Youth Registered Apprenticeships as an effective way to start high school students on a career path that leads to good wages and advancement opportunities. Carwile says the Apprenticeship program helps Design Electric because the company is “able to get a head start on training quality electricians that will be good installers of commercial electrical components.” 

A Licensed Electrician at Age 20

Carwile believes Rosas’s time at CATEC helped him transition to his apprenticeship experience easily because “CATEC and Design Electric work well together. CATEC is a good community partner because it takes students interested in the skilled trades and gives them a path to that job.” When Rosas graduates from high school in 2020, he will only have two years remaining until he is able to take his Journeyman exam to become a licensed electrician, a remarkable feat for a 20-year-old to accomplish. Rosas appreciates his time at CATEC saying it “is a great learning experience. It prepared me with skills to use out in the work field. It also offered a learning experience I couldn’t get at my base school. I got the opportunity to learn something that I was interested in making a career out of.”

How to Get the Most out of High School? Culinary Arts Students Ask This Recent CATEC Grad

Recent Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical Education Center (CATEC) Culinary Arts graduate Tyquan Alston visited its Culinary Arts I program last week to talk about the opportunities CATEC afforded him. Alston returned to CATEC to speak with new Culinary Arts students about taking advantage of every possible learning moment offered to them. As a May graduate, Alston spoke to students from the perspective of someone who had just recently been in the same position. He urged new students to brush off negative attitudes or preconceptions they may have.

He reflected on his relationship with lead instructor, Chef Carol Robbs, and said “when I started to pay attention, I realized how much I had to learn.” Chef Robbs says that she is very “proud of Tyquan. I could see the growth and maturity in him. I can see he found his humility and reflects on his time at CATEC very positively.”

Transferring to PVCC’s Culinary Arts Program

Culinary Arts graduate Tyquan Alston visits the Culinary Arts I program

At CATEC, Alston became CPR, First Aid, and ServSafe Manager-certified. The ServSafe program is developed by the National Restaurant Association with the help of the foodservice industry to help define food safety best practices. He received dual-enrollment credit through Piedmont Virginia Community College (PVCC), which allowed him to transfer seamlessly to PVCC’s Culinary Arts Program.

In late August, Alston began studying under Chef Eric Brekoff in the program that blends professional and technical courses with hands-on training. The 67-credit program will allow Alston to graduate with an Associate of Applied Science. When he completes the program, he will be able to enter the workforce as a chef, sous chef, pastry chef, or personal chef in restaurants, hotels, resorts, or country clubs. Alston is currently using his Culinary Arts skills by working in the food service industry at the University of Virginia while taking his classes at PVCC.

CATEC Alumnus Uses EMT and Fire Knowledge in Maritime Engineering

Recent two-time CATEC graduate, Kenley Woods, began his newest academic adventure in August at Great Lakes Maritime Academy in Traverse City, Michigan. Woods is studying Maritime Engineering for four years and will earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Maritime Technology when he graduates. He is learning how to efficiently operate and maintain ship engines and support ship machinery. Woods will graduate with his Coast Guard license and will be an Officer, First Engineer. Graduates from this program leave as highly credentialed and experienced engineers with in-demand maritime experience.

Woods met a current merchant marine engineer who graduated from Great Lakes Maritime Academy at a CATEC Career Fair last January. Woods was immediately drawn to the college’s opportunities to study marine engineering and travel the world. Upon this encounter, he said his life took a “turn for the better” when he realized this job seemed “impossibly perfect.” He began the application process right away. Out of 400 applicants, Woods was one of 60 cadets accepted for the 2019-2020 year, and one of only 24 students studying engineering.

A Firefighter and EMT by Age 18

Woods graduated from CATEC’s firefighting program in 2019 and received his Virginia Fire I and II certifications

Woods attributes much of his success to his accomplishments at CATEC. Along with his application, Woods had an in-person interview with admissions officers in Michigan. Woods said he “realized how much CATEC had done for me” when the admissions offer said “you are only 18 and you are a firefighter and EMT.” He said CATEC has been a “rock in my life” because it provides real-world training for real-world certifications.

Woods first graduated from CATEC in 2018 when he completed the Emergency Medical Technician program. He returned for the 2018-2019 school year to take CATEC’s firefighting course and was a volunteer firefighter in Charlottesville. He graduated from the program in 2019 and received his Virginia Fire I and II certifications. All together, he earned 24 college credits as a dual-enrolled student at CATEC. Woods was a featured student speaker at CATEC’s graduation last year. This experience helped him earn acceptance at Great Lakes Maritime Academy.

CATEC: Career Training for Students & Adults

The Charlottesville Albemarle Technical Education Center (CATEC) is a regional technical education center, which helps high school students and adults obtain the jobs they seek. Our centralized, unified career development program helps students develop strategic approaches to cultivating their careers. CATEC was founded in 1973 and serves students from both Albemarle County Schools and Charlottesville City Schools.