CES Celebrates Career and Technical Education Month®
Every February, the Association for Career & Technical Education® celebrates CTE students and their achievements through a public awareness campaign — Career and Technical Education Month®. This year, the campaign is sponsored by the National Association of Home Builders, and City Electric Supply (CES) is happy to lend support by taking a look back at some of the ways CES employees have supported local trade school students in the past.
One day, CES Alexandria Branch Manager Johnathan Rodgers was talking to a customer about Romex pricing when the conversation turned to how much they wanted to support the next generation of trade students. When the call ended, Rodgers immediately reached out to other people he knew in the industry, seeing who else might be interested in donating to Edison Academy, a vocational program at Thomas Edison High School.
“I know a lot of people in the industry, so I called on as many people as I could,” Rodgers said. “I reached out to tool vendors and called up some customers who’ve worked with us for years.”
O.T. Hall & Son was one of those vendors. They had actually just moved facilities and told Rodgers they had some material they could donate to the academy.
But when the driver at CES Alexandria went to pick up the donation, it was more than just “some material.” There was a mountain of wire, tools, and materials — more than enough to give the students at Edison Academy plenty of real, hands-on training.
“We’re invited to come speak to the school next year along with manufacturers and vendors,” Rodgers said. “We can’t wait to help them get their hands on new products and promote CES to a new generation of electricians.”
Independent Electrical Contractors Rocky Mountain (IECRM) is a chapter of a national trade association and apprenticeship school for electricians, and they recently returned to in-person classes for the first time in a year. To celebrate, they held a big event where electrical apprentice students could pick up their books as well as meet vendors and distributors in the industry. CES, a long-time partner of IECRM, was thrilled to play a part.
“We hold this annual expo every year as an opportunity for our industry partners to showcase new products,” said IECRM Director of Operations and Member Services Mary Beth Armbruster. “It’s also a fantastic opportunity for the next generation of electricians to learn about what’s out there.”
“The expo is great because we get to talk to students, and they get to talk to us,” added CES District Manager Randall “Randy” Birely. “It’s important for electrical students to start building these relationships before they officially move into the industry.”
And the event was a success. Over the four days of the event, around 300 electrical students showed up to pick up books, meet with vendors, talk to distributors, grab swag, and network over great food.
“It was fantastic! The excitement was palpable. All of the students came together to learn and have a good time,” said Armbruster. “CES was so welcoming to our students. They weren’t there to sell, but to educate and support our students, which is so meaningful.”
As the United States grapples with an electrician shortage, CES Cool Springs is determined to do its part to support the industry.
“The industry needs good, qualified electricians — especially in the Nashville market. It’s growing exponentially, and there’s not enough workforce in the area,” explained CES Nashville West District Manager Mike Mosketti. “The market simply does not have enough people out there. This is our small part to help people interested in that career field.”
True to his word, Mosketti has been helping Achieve Trade School Director Bob Shain train the next generation of electricians. How? Through Shain’s Achieve Trade School, a post-secondary educational institution designed to teach students technical skills through job-specific training.
“City Electric Supply Cool Springs has been a huge component of our program — providing program materials, ordering things we need that they don’t have on hand, delivering items at the drop of a hat, and being a constant resource for the program,” said Shain. “They even put up flyers in their lobby and have been available for potential job placement opportunities for our students.”
Mosketti couldn’t be prouder to support Shain’s mission, which started in 2017 with a dream of creating a hands-on learning experience for anyone interested in pursuing a skilled trade.
“We are so appreciative of their dedication to serving our students and aiding us in providing them with the knowledge and practices for their careers,” said Shain.