I Love My Trade - Elvis B. Claiborne, Electrician
In honor of #NationalSkilledTradesDay May 6, 2020, we are launching a series called I Love My Trade. We connected with Elvis B. Claiborne, an electrician from Lake Elsinore, California. Here is Elvis's story:
My name is Elvis B. Claiborne. I live in Lake Elsinore, California. I'm 38-years-old and I’ve been in the electrical trade since 2006. I was introduced to the electrical industry while I was temporarily locked up in the California State Prison. Looking back now, it's safe to say that landing a short prison term sentence was a blessing in disguise! I was introduced to the electrical apprenticeship program, Associated Builders and Contractors of Southern CA from a prison staffer who was helping me transition back into the community upon my release. I was given the information and pointed in the right direction to apply for the program.
I found out training was a 5-year indentured apprenticeship program and was required to get state certified as an electrician in California. It was free, felony friendly and you could earn money while you learned! I couldn't believe it. This was America's best-kept secret! Immediately upon my release, I was determined to join the electrical trade. I applied and got accepted into the apprenticeship program and began my career as an electrician.
The apprenticeship program was the best thing I could've done for myself. I really was EARNING money while I was LEARNING! I was working fulltime and going to school during the 5-year program. I worked full time on a worksite and every 6 months I would attend school for 2 weeks straight. This process continues until you reach the 5-year mark and complete the 8,000 hours of on-the-job training.
Every 6 months during the apprenticeship, I was given a very attractive raise as I progressed in the program.
Fourteen years later, here I am working as a general electrical foreman for a large scale, commercial contractor running multi-million dollar projects. I love absolutely my career with passion!
The electrical trade has provided me with an essential career and an abundance of opportunities for my future. I'm living proof that it doesn't matter what you've done in the past, but where you are going now. The choice is yours. Explore the trades!
In the future, I plan to become an instructor for ABC of Southern California. It's just a small way I plan on giving back to the trade and program that changed my life.
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