MCTC and Nelson Electric Partner for Apprenticeship Program | MCTC

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MCTC and Nelson Electric Partner for Apprenticeship Program

August 24, 2022

by Brady Shultz

Left to Right - Cindy Hurt, Joey Nelson, Jackson Hopkins, Lennie Kinney, Lori GaunceWhen Joey Nelson was seeking help for his growing electrical business, he turned to Maysville Community and Technical College (MCTC) for the solution.

Nelson Electric was founded in 2019 as an electrical contracting business based in Cynthiana, Ky. They specialize in security system installations as well as residential electrical work. Like others working in the skilled trades, Nelson saw his business grow significantly during the pandemic. To meet current customer demand and continue to grow his business, he knew he needed some help. But, finding and retaining reliable, trained workers to join his company was not going to be easy in today’s economy.

“I’m a small business. In addition to my installation work, I’m my own accounting department and HR department,” says Nelson. “I knew larger businesses offered apprenticeships to students learning the trade, there had to be a way for small businesses to take advantage.”

Nelson reached out to the Workforce Solutions Department at the local campus of Maysville Community and Technical College to see if they had any ideas of how he could get started…he was in luck.

Utilizing a pool of incoming students, MCTC Apprenticeship Project Coordinator, Cindy Hurt was able to connect 2022 Harrison County High School graduate, Jackson Hopkins with Nelson and set up a licensed apprenticeship agreement that benefitted them both.

Nelson electric employees inf ront of Nelson electric work van.Nelson would have a reliable and motivated new employee, Hopkins would receive on-the-job experience and a jump start into a high-demand career while making a fair wage and simultaneously earning a college degree. Additionally, time on the job during his apprenticeship would count towards hours needed for his journeyman certification.

The program will have Hopkins spend several hours on campus each week in class learning basic skills and dedicate the remainder of his time on-the-job with Nelson’s team putting his classroom lessons to work.

“I’m hoping that more businesses, especially smaller companies will see what Nelson Electric has been able to do and take advantage of the apprenticeship program at MCTC,” says Hurt. “I think they will be surprised just how easy it is to get started.”

Because Hopkins has enrolled in a high-demand and career field, one hundred percent of his tuition cost is eligible to be covered by the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship program which is designed to help fill the skills gap in the state. This means when he graduates, he leaves the college with little or no student loan debt.

Nelson also noted that he intends to place his younger apprentices like Hopkins with his more experienced workers as they approach retirement. “I want the next generation to see the work ethic and soak up the knowledge these experienced guys have to offer,” Nelson says.

Hopkins says he also inherited his work ethic from his parents. His mother was a nurse and his father worked in coal mines of Eastern Kentucky as an industrial electrician.

“This job will allow me to see something new and solve a different problem every day,” says Hopkins. “Working with electricity has instant gratification,” he says with a smile.

To learn more about how the apprenticeship program at MCTC can help you and your business visit maysville.kctcs.edu or contact college Apprenticeship Coordinator Cindy Hurt at cindy.hurt@kctcs.edu or (606) 759-7141 ext. 66328.