Arlen Everist, a Centralia College graduate and currently a Meter Electrician Apprentice at Seattle City Light, was hired from a pool of 430 applicants in Feb. 2012. He understood that mastering math and electrical theory were vital in securing a job within the energy industry.
“The hiring process for Seattle City Light’s apprenticeship programs is extremely competitive and requires some prior technical education,” Karen DeVenaro, apprenticeship manager, said. “The (Energy Technology) program at Centralia College does a wonderful job preparing students for the demanding and exciting skilled-trades careers in the utility industry.”
During winter and spring quarters of 2012, Arlen worked full-time, took online classes and enrolled in night school twice a week to meet his apprenticeship and college requirements. Thanks to good time-management skills he was able to graduate on time with honors.
“Arlen was tenaciously driven by his studies and his work,” energy technology instructor, John Steidel, said, “and he was deeply interested in learning about the energy industry.”
At Centralia College, Everist learned electrical theory, parts of the electrical distribution system, technical math, and workplace safety.
“I use all of these things on a daily basis,” he said. “I also learned time management and good study habits. Part of my apprenticeship entails night school so (taking night classes at the college) was helpful as well.”
His instructors also prepped him with job interviewing skills.
“The interview process was exactly what the summer class with Rulon Crawford (first year energy tech instructor) prepared me for,” Everist added. “Having the practice in class and knowing what kinds of things I may be asked made me a lot more confident and prepared to me give good, detailed, and precise answers, as well as ask good questions.”
The Associate of Applied Science in Energy Technology/Power Operations program prepares students to compete for entry-level positions such as power plant operator, substation operator, technician, and other high voltage pre-apprentice and apprenticeship positions within the energy industry.
Coursework includes traditional sources of power generation, transmission, renewable energy, energy efficiency and smart grid technology which are transmitted via ITV from Centralia College to virtual classrooms at Grays Harbor, Peninsula, Wenatchee Valley and Spokane Community/IEL colleges.
As for his job at Seattle City Light, Everist enjoys being able learn new things and solve problems. Everist said. “Metering technology is always advancing so there is always more to learn. I also love working in various locations throughout the city, seeing new things and meeting new people,” Everist said.
Becoming an apprentice (a three-year position) meant joining the union. Everist is a member of IBEW Local 77.
“Being a union member means having excellent benefits,” he said. “It comes with high wages, clear workplace policies, and a high focus on safety.”
Everist hopes that in five years, he’ll have two years of experience as journey-level meter electrician at Seattle City Light and may even consider enrolling in an electrical engineering program.
He offers this advice to those in the energy programs: “Math and electrical theory are of vital importance to even pass the written tests for jobs, so work hard.”