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Calculated move: EC North grad researches professions with guidelines in mind

Monday, December 4, 2023

Calculated move: EC North grad researches professions with guidelines in mind

male in hat with books at a table

Jonny Reiter didn’t dream of being an electrician. To be fair, the Eau Claire North High School graduate didn’t have any vivid visions of his future career. 


But he did set guidelines for himself.


Reiter didn’t want to spend all of his money on his education. He wanted to make “good” money after graduating. He wanted options in the field, and he wanted to work his brain as much as his body.


So far, after the equivalent of two and a half years of schooling from Chippewa Valley Technical College under his belt and a $2,000 Tools of the Trade scholarship to help purchase the tools he needs, he’s doing a pretty good job of keeping his money in his pocket. 


Reiter began working at B&B Electric in Eau Claire when he made the choice to apply for CVTC’s Electrician (Construction) apprenticeship program.


Reiter was accepted and began college in the summer of 2022. The now 19-year-old went to school one day a week and worked at B&B Electric four days a week. 


“You go work out in the field as an electrician,” he said. “That’s where you learn most of the day-to-day skills. I’m working with professionals who have gone through it all. Class helps you understand the math and regulations.”


Tim Trowbridge, Electrician (Construction) Apprenticeship instructor for CVTC and former construction electrician in northwestern Wisconsin, said to be accepted into the apprenticeship program, students must be employed in the field. 


“When contractors employ the students, it’s economical for the contractors and gives the students a unique education by offering guidance during real-world scenarios,” Trowbridge said. “Students are expected to do a lot of work on their own. If they do their due diligence, they will walk out of here with no school debt making $80,000 or more a year.”


Reiter is expected to finish his apprenticeship in the summer of 2026, and then he plans to take a few more classes to earn his associate degree. He will also take the journeyman test to become a fully licensed electrician.


“I want to keep working my way up either in this company or another company as a commercial electrician – whatever path leads to a successful career,” he said. 

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