NORCAL JATC Sound and Communication Apprentices Share Their Experiences
Jamar Plummer, First Year Apprentice, Vallejo, CA
“I chose this path because I wanted a career that would help me advance, not just a job. I wanted something that would last a lifetime, with pension, and retirement benefits. The JATC program is widely recognized and I like working with technology. Because I am learning a trade, I can go anywhere and work after I complete the program. They help you find a job as well.”
James Arney, Second Year Apprentice, Foster City, CA
“I was referred to the program by one of my friends who told me it was a good career path, it offered good pay, and good benefits. I’ve gained the willingness to learn and the ability to learn new things quickly.
“What I enjoy most about the program is the on-the-job experience. I’m more of a hands-on learner, so getting first hand experience and learning different techniques has been very helpful. All the instructors have been very helpful, and I’ve gained better communication skills through working with clients.”
Eric Reid, First Year Apprentice, San Francisco, CA
“I’m glad that I got into the program. It has given me a big sense of accomplishment and will allow me to make a good living. Everybody is held to a higher standard. A lot of organization is needed. If we come in behind non-union workers, you can see a big difference between us and them.
“The teachers have been really good. It’s been a lot of hands-on, and the instructors are able to apply the classroom training to what we do in the field. They are real hands-on and able to put everything in real life perspective for us, so we just don’t read about it from a book.”
Reyna Torrecillas, Second Year Apprentice, San Jose, CA
“I wanted to be in an electrical union. I found out that this is a good apprenticeship. It’s a good program because it’s a good brotherhood; it’s like a family. If you want to come into the electrical union, it’s the way to go. It has great instructors. It’s just the way to go.”
Matthew Lilly, 3rd Year Apprentice, Pinole
“Being a part of the JATC has been a great experience all in all. I don’t know how I’m going to thank everybody enough for what they’ve done. It was a shot for me to get a career, make something out of myself, and to get my life on the right track.
“I am impressed with the training and the options. When I was first looking at the program, one of the biggest things that caught my attention was earning college credits towards a degree. The teachers have been pretty awesome so far. I like how hands-on everything is. There’s a lot of book work and along with that comes a lot of hands-on projects. Being in the field is the easiest way to learn.”
Brent Hannon, Second Year Apprentice, Gilroy, CA
“This field is always changing and there’s always something going on that you can learn. It’s a great opportunity you have to work in this part of the country, in this state, in Silicon Valley to learn technology. With the way technology is evolving in Silicon Valley, everything that Sound and Communications touches are part of that ever-increasing world.
“Every instructor I’ve had has had a vast amount of experience in what they’re teaching. I’ve met a lot of interesting people, and delved into a lot of interesting subjects, like fiber optics. Once you take the class and get to handle the thing, it’s no longer a mystery.”
Andrew Pelto, Third Year Apprentice, El Dorado Hills, CA
“I was previously a white collar worker and I wanted to grow and expand my career into something that was more hands on. I looked at a few other programs, but this curriculum was very thorough. It is an excellent program. It’s the kind of program you would pay thousands of dollars for in the private sector.”
“I like the enthusiasm of the teachers. I’ve spent a fair amount of time in college as well; these instructors compare favorably with college professors in their teaching skills and enthusiasm. They’ve all spent a lot of years in the trade doing what they’re teaching now and that really comes across.”
Charles Ford, Graduated Installer, Sacramento, CA
“I install nurse call systems in Stockton. I’m basically just doing hospitals, and I’m doing a lot of finish work. I get to be in a position of leadership while I’m working on projects. Joining the JATC program gave me an opportunity to start my career. It’s a really great program and it only takes a few years to accoplish.
“The faculty is great. They bring a personal touch to the program. The instructors actually get in there and they’ll do the work with you. If you don’t understand it, they’ll work with you one-on-one and show you how to do it right there. I’ve gained a brotherhood by joining this program. There are so many people that are with me and they’ve got your back. It’s just like a big happy family.”
Matthew McNichols, Graduated Installer, Vacaville, CA
“I graduated last year from the program. I developed technical skills as well as management skills. Now I’m actually putting a fire alarm system in a new $80 million high school. I think this program is really where technology and the future lie. I’ve been to community college. I’ve been to another apprenticeship program, and I’ve been to Heald for trade school. This apprenticeship program, by far, was more comprehensive and hands on—far more helpful for what we actually do out in the field than any of those other schools.
“It’s really a college level program. You actually get college credit for it and the people in charge of it are serious about teaching the students what they need to know. The instructors know how to teach the work because they’ve done the work. The can relate practice and theory to the students in a way in which we can understand. This program produces world class technicians--the best in the industry, worldwide. I really feel it was a privilege for me to be in this program and graduate from this program, because now I’m one of the best.”
Jesse Losoya, Second Year Apprentice, Union City, CA
“I’ve always been interested in electronics, so I decided to get into something that I liked. I’m finally doing something that I enjoy doing. The apprenticeship program has been great. I’ve developed strong skills in the communications industry. I’ve had really good teachers—guys that really seem to know the work. They know how to put it into terms so we can understand it.
“Overall I like feeling I have some kind of support system behind me. I don’t feel like just a student or just a number in the system. Pretty much it feels like a big family. They definitely have your back. I feel like my future is more secure than it was a couple of years before I entered. I feel a lot more comfortable knowing I have my health benefits and my retirement benefits.”