The staff at the Electrical Training Alliance of Silicon Valley (formerly JATC) is excited to announce our Milwaukee Tool Apprentice of the Month awards for the fall 2021 semester. Ninety apprentices were nominated by their instructors. The criteria was strong understanding of the course material, excellent attendance, participation in class, and an exemplary attitude. Congratulations! We could not be prouder of the winners as well as the nominees, of whom there are too many to mention. All will receive gifts from our foremost training partner, Milwaukee Tool. Thank you to all of the nominees and winners for upholding standards and striving for excellence.
August Apprentice of the Month: Dong Ho (5th Year)
“For 10 years, I was an automechanic and worked at dealerships. I got really tired of not making a living wage and fighting for raises. The IBEW 332 collective bargaining agreement was extremely attractive to me, which is why I applied.
”The apprenticeship has been a great program. People make a decent living, there’s a support system, and everyone is invested in our success. I love learning different skill sets and the fact that I can work on my own house now.
“When I turn out, I’m in a comfortable position to just work. Whatever drops by, I’ll do it. I don’t want to get pigeonholed. I always want to be learning new skills to keep my mind active.
“I’m looking forward to being done with school so I have a little more free time to spend with my wife and three kids. We do a lot of bikeriding, hiking, and swimming. And when I have time to myself, I research investing because I want to find a way to make my money grow.
“I’m so grateful for the opportunity of the union apprenticeship and see the positive impacts it has on people. With the union, I like the people I work with, I have a more positive outlook, and I’m genuinely happy when my classmates succeed. It’s made me a better person, and that’s not an exaggeration.”
September Apprentice of the Month: Stephen Brenny (5th Year)
“I got into the apprenticeship at 19. Before that, I was taking community college classes and working at a golf course. A buddy told me about the union, the apprenticeship, and how you can work your way through. Me and school did not get along. I’m more of a hands-on learner, so the apprenticeship really suits me.
“The teachers have been in your position, so they know how much to push you and what to expect out of you. It’s been an amazing opportunity, the pay and benefits are great, and the hours allow folks to spend time with their families.
“I work for a small shop building hospitals, and I get to touch everything. The work is not just taking measurements and slapping stuff up on the wall. You really have to think things through. It’s also not taxing on your body like other trades, and so I can be an electrician for 40 years–I hope.
“Being in the union, everyone has your back. You don’t have to schmooze for a dollar because the raises are taken care of, and the brotherhood is second to none. I’ve met some of my closest friends who I can always count on. And that’s what the union is all about – people being there for you in your time of need.”
October Apprentice of the Month: Sarah Edwards (5th Year)
“Before the apprenticeship, I was working in the Cupertino Electric office. The guys from the IBEW urged me to apply. I got in fast, and the rest is history.
“I love everything about the apprenticeship: the scope of work we do, the fact that you have to think, and that there’s not a single task I don’t like. Every day is different, and we have to be on our game because of the hazards of electricity.
“I enjoy the brother- and sisterhood. We all look out for each other both on the jobsite and off. Every person I’ve met is so different, and the diversity of past experiences is mind-blowing.
“I’m excited about turning out, and I’m working for Elcor, the shop that built the new JATC. The building is gorgeous, and all the work is really clean and high quality. I’m definitely going to take continuing ed classes there. There’s always more to learn, and I love learning. I’m still so new to the trade, and I want to be ready for whatever they throw at me.
“Right now, I don’t have a lot of free time, but I like anything outdoors. I have a high energy mutt so I’m always out running her. Because of the apprenticeship, I’m living a good life. It has helped me meet my biggest goal: to be financially independent and live in the Bay Area. I feel really fortunate for this opportunity.”
November Apprentice of the Month: Lilliana Martinez (4th Year)
“Prior to the apprenticeship, I did social work but got burnt out. I developed a spark for the electrical trade while on a date with my husband. We drove past a building, and he said, ‘I helped power up that building.’ Back then, there weren’t a lot of women in the trades. But today, seeing a female on a job site is no big deal. So, I applied.
“In the apprenticeship, I learn electrical theory and get hands-on training. I enjoy putting what I’ve learned into practice and seeing results. Every day is different, and I love the team-like atmosphere. It’s part of the brother- and sisterhood to look out for each other.
“The union paved the way, particularly for women in the trades. Because of collective bargaining, I can step onto a jobsite as a woman and not have to fight for my value. I’m the same as any other male coworker in the union. If I had been on the nonunion side, I would not have the same opportunities.
“I live with my husband and my two dogs. When we’re not hiking with the dogs, I like to share my work scenarios with my husband and go over code. The electrical field is constantly changing, and it’s a healthy challenge to keep up. As an IBEW apprentice, I try my best each day, and that’s the most important thing: do the best you can.”
December Apprentice of the Month: Jonny Miller (5th Year)
“Before I was accepted into the apprenticeship, I was a store manager at Lowe’s. This entailed long workweeks and allowed little time for my family. I saw that the union offered a better schedule and quality of life, so I applied. I was intimidated seeing the number of applicants, but I got in. Within six months, I was working, and it’s been the best thing that happened to me and my family.
“At first, I didn’t fully understand the union. But as I’ve gone through the apprenticeship, I’ve gained so much respect and pride for 332. We have the best and the brightest members in this local or any industry for that matter. It’s a true brother- and sisterhood and extremely impressive. The traditions carried on and passed down from journeymen, foremen and instructors are invaluable.
“I’m fortunate to find a career that I truly enjoy going to every day. It’s ever-evolving, there are so many opportunities, and it provides a quality of work-life balance that is unparalleled and almost nonexistent today.
“I have a beautiful, loving wife, and I’m the proud father of two children, ages four and six. I can be there for my family because of the opportunities provided by our union. I look forward to the future of our local. I’m so proud to be a member of IBEW 332 and continue the tradition of skill, knowledge, attitude, and excellence!”