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Internship program for electrical lineman now an option for high school seniors

Missouri Valley JATC is starting an internship for high school seniors next semester to teach them what it takes to become an electrician.

INDIANOLA, Iowa — A new internship for Iowa high schoolers who want to become or learn about becoming electricians is launching this upcoming semester. 

The internship will be through Missouri Valley JATC in Indianola.

Tim Vassios, an instructor for the internship, said the purpose is to introduce the students to different careers that do not require four-year degrees.

At Missouri Valley, they will learn alongside apprentices who are at the school for the apprenticeship program.

The program teaches those apprentices, some of who are becoming journeyman linemen, how to help build and maintain electrical power systems and traffic signals. 

"They [high schoolers] can get some work-based learning experience and some skills and education, and training that's all related to the outside electrical construction industry," Vassisos said.

The internship is semester-long, and students will experience the coursework of being an electrician before getting some hands-on training.

Some of the training will be climbing an electrical pole and learning how to properly handle the equipment. 

Along with the internship being created to give seniors a chance to think of careers outside of college, it also was intended to help increase the workforce for the trade. 

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"We no longer have that feeder program into the skill trade, especially ours because it's relatively obscure," Vassios said. "There's so much attraction to going a different direction that people don't want to leave high school and enter into a trade skill program."

Once the internship is complete, students will not only leave the program with knowledge about electricians, but also leave knowing more about safety aspects of the industry and first aid training, which Vassios said is very important.

"They will receive a certification for that," Vassios said.

He also noted for people who enter into this industry and take the path of a journeyman, their starting pay can start in the high five or low six figures for salary.

If a student is interested in signing up for the internship, they must first speak with their school's internship/work program. Missouri Valley JATC has six open slots and so far, no students have signed up.

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