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High school students sizzling to start new career


Thanks to a new dual enrollment program offered by Tidewater Community College and Chesapeake Public Schools, students are getting a jump start on college and gaining entry-level skills in a trade all their own.

In just one academic year, five students are earning their Career Studies Certificate in Electrical Wiring for Technicians, having gained a basic understanding of residential and industrial wiring and national code with classroom instruction and hands-on laboratory work.

They will graduate on May 12 at the Ted Constant Convocation Center on May 12 with a college certificate before earning their high school diplomas.

“Employers are looking for workers with this type of training,” said Bob Shanks, TCC instructor. “Our students enter the job market prepared to work and with the skills that give them a leg up in the industry.”

The electrical wiring certificate is designed to give students practical experience using scaled mock-ups to learn design, layout, construction and testing of residential wiring systems. They also gain knowledge of power distribution, circuits, switches, enclosures, panels, fuses, circuit breakers and national code.

This dual enrollment program launched in fall 2017. Students in the program also completed the OSHA 10-hour construction safety and health training.

Here’s what our graduates are saying:

Zachary Booker
Western Branch High – senior

“Mr. Shanks knows his business, and I have learned a lot from him. I’ve enjoyed everything about the program and want to earn my associate degree in electrical wiring, and then work for Dominion Energy.”

Hunter Edward
Deep Creek High – junior

“I had no intention of becoming an electrician until I had this opportunity. Now I don’t see myself doing anything else. It really gave me all of the basics I need in the field. I ultimately want to work as a linesman for Dominion Energy after earning my associate degree.”

Brandon Halloran
Oscar Smith High – junior

“I wasn’t even considering going to college until I took this program, and now I’m going to get my associate degree in electrical wiring. I really like this work because it’s hands-on and I can work outside. I want to travel and work overseas, and now I can do that with this trade. When I come home, I’d enjoy working for Dominion Energy.”

Christian Keifer
Grassfield High – junior

“Having something different than my regular high school schedule has been great and learning a new skill has been the best thing. I’d definitely recommend this program. I liked the hands-on activities and gaining the basic skills for a career. I want to be an electrician and someday run my own business.”

Jalem Wilson
Great Bridge High – senior

“I originally wanted to be a pilot, but things changed, and I really like this field. This program has been a big influence on where I want to go in the future. I plan to earn my associate degree, and I’m pretty excited about doing this work for a living.”

The next cohort for the dual enrollment program in electrical wiring is forming now and already includes 17 Chesapeake Public School juniors and seniors. For information about the program, call 757-822-1111 or email