Alive With Skill: Electrician Apprenticeship
A partnership with Faith Technologies is proof that apprenticeship training is alive and well, and poised to shape today’s workforce.
Kaukauna resident Matt Sabee started as an apprentice electrician
15 years ago. “I was only a year out of high school and had just started working at Faith Technologies, a nationwide electrical contractor headquartered in Menasha,” he says. “When the company offered me a chance to do apprenticeship training through Fox Valley Technical College, I was more than happy to accept.”
Sabee quickly found that what he learned in class could be immediately applied in the field. “As I progressed with my classes, I realized there would be more responsibility every step of the way,” he says. “Ultimately, my training at Fox Valley Tech helped me in every phase of my career.”
Six months after completing his apprenticeship training and earning his journeyman electrician card, Sabee became a risk management technician at Faith Technologies. Now a service project manager at the company, the 34-year-old believes that FVTC gave him the skills and capabilities he needs to reach his next goal—to become a group manager or branch manager.
“In order to effectively manage here, you need to work with customers, plus deal with all the actual operational-related issues,” he says. “You need to make sure that everyone has the right materials and tools, as well as making sure things get done on budget and on time—all without any accidents. My ability to juggle all of these responsibilities stems from gaining an education at Fox Valley Tech.”
Other FVTC graduates from Faith Technologies are following in Sabee’s footsteps. Hartford native Ryan Huss recently completed his electrical apprenticeship at FVTC and is working as a journeyman electrician for the company. The 31-year-old military veteran was the first FVTC student to win the Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin Apprentice of the Year award, which he earned in 2013.
Huss views an apprenticeship as a true win-win experience. “Where else can you get paid to go to work and receive an education?” he asks. “I recommend the program to everyone because you are exposed to all parts of the trade—commercial, industrial, and residential.”
FVTC has turned the apprenticeship, a time-honored system for learning a trade in Wisconsin for more than 100 years, into a cutting-edge approach to education. “With state-of-the-art equipment in all the labs, we continuously work with employers to ensure success and customize to meet their needs,” says Steve Straub, dean of FVTC’s Manufacturing Technologies division. “For example, the apprentices from Faith Technologies come in from all over the country, so we developed a three-day block schedule of classes.”
Faith Technologies, Inc. President Mike Jansen agrees with FVTC’s innovative approach to apprenticeship training. “The college’s new schedule format is key to Faith Technologies’ success,” he says. “We have the best workforce in the industry, which doesn’t happen by accident. Faith invests in the training and development of its employees, and the foundation of an employee’s training is often an apprenticeship program.”
Fox Valley Technical College is Wisconsin’s #1 provider of apprenticeship training for the industrial, electrical, construction and service trades
FVTC offers apprenticeship training in 15 industry areas, impacting about 200 employers and nearly 800 apprentices annually