Preparing individuals for successful careers is the mission of Northeast Technology Center, but that mission would not be possible without the support of business partners like Faith Technologies, an electrical contracting company based in Tulsa. Representatives from Faith Technologies were on the NTC Pryor campus last week to speak with electrical students about job opportunities and provide them with a demonstration of the equipment and tasks they might encounter in the field.
With students in Rodney Darnell’s electrical class gathered around him, Jason Zasada – an installer with Faith Technologies – displayed various types of cables and materials used for different fiber optic jobs. Using the company’s fiber optic training station, Zasada also demonstrated some of the high-tech equipment used in the job sector.
“If you get anything between the ends of the connections – whether it’s a dust particle or oil from your hands – it slows down the connection speed,” Zasada said as he demonstrated the electronic cleaning station used to check the fiber strands.
Accompanying Zasada on the visit was Jonah Vanderpool, a recent CareerTech graduate and current employee at Faith Technologies. Vanderpool conducted a fiber splicing demonstration for the students, many of whom are trying to choose a career path within the electrical field.
“We encompass so many different aspects in this trade,” said NTC Instructor Rodney Darnell. “If you don't like one, there will be another one you do like, but the more you learn how to do the more valuable you are to the company.”
Faith Technologies Workforce Manager Josh George was also present to answer students’ questions about interviewing, benefits, advancement options and rate of pay.
“I wouldn’t talk anyone out of going to college if that's what you want to do, but we don't chase after four-year degreed individuals. Everyone starts in the field working as a helper,” George said. “The journeyman's license is your four-year degree and your earning factor can be greater than what you’d make with a college degree. You can get an education and come out debt free.”
In addition to recruiting students while they are still in training, Faith Technologies is also working to change the culture of the electrical trade itself. By providing consistent work for employees rather than laying them off after a job is completed, they have developed a workforce of 2,500 employees nationwide. More than 200 of those employees are based in Tulsa, and new hires can expect to work 40-60 hours per week depending on the job.
“We look for people with good attitudes, who show up on time and are dependable,” George said. “Do what's asked of you and be willing to learn. If you do that, we can teach you everything else.”
George also shared information about the hiring process with Faith Technologies, and told students they can expect wages beginning at $13-14 per hour. Completion of the apprenticeship program, which begins in September, can result in a $1 per hour raise with pay increases as the worker progresses.
“We're a 100% merit shop and we pay people accordingly,” said George. “Your level of success depends on how hard you want to work.”
After thanking the guests, Darnell concluded the presentation with some words of advice for his students
“Be open minded and never quit learning,” said Darnell. “When I started in this field fiber wasn't even in the dictionary, but today, it's not optional. Everyone has it at their house, and that's a beautiful thing for those of us trained in electrical. There are jobs - good paying jobs - that aren't going away.”