Barren Co., Caverna Ind. electricians-to-be get a charge out of area technology center studies; one able to get internship with Barren Co. maintenance department

Daily Times, Glasgow, Nov. 23, 2016

It's Electric!
Local students surge with career-ready skills
BY WILL PERKINS

Caverna High School senior Logan Grissom balanced himself on a ladder as he worked on troubleshooting a junction box last Thursday at the Barren County Area Technology Center.

“I like showing up and working with my hands,” Grissom said. “It beats sitting in a classroom all day for me. I like being here and being hands-on.”

Grissom has been taking classes at the Barren County ATC for five semesters.

“It’s challenging,” he said. “I’m always learning new stuff. There’s just so much to do. I like learning different things.”

Grissom said he wants to be an electrical lineman, so he was attracted to the Barren County ATC’s Electricity program.

“I’m trying to get the fundamentals of electricity,” he said. “I quite enjoy being here.”

On the other side of the room, Barren County High School juniors Blake Hensley and Garrett Arterburn worked in an area that resembled an unfinished portion of a house, wiring lights, switches, receptacles and plugins.

“Our teacher told us to wire up whatever was the most complex at our skill level,” Hensley said, adding that he likes the hands-on aspect of the class. “You get to do more with your hands and I learn better that way.”

Arterburn said he also likes the hands-on activities.

“You’re in a classroom, but you don’t really have a classroom,” he said. “I want to be a lineman when I get older, so this is something to start out.”

In addition to taking classes at the Barren County ATC, BCHS senior Taylor Groce has been interning with the Barren County Schools maintenance department.

“We work on all of the systems and stuff in the schools,” Groce said, adding that he recently helped tear down the electrical systems at the football stadium. He said he enjoys “getting out in the field and seeing all of the stuff that can go on.”

Groce said he has been working with electricity all of his life as his dad is an electrician, and that he wants to be an electrician or go into industrial maintenance.
 
He said he likes the atmosphere of the classes at the Barren County ATC and “learning stuff every day that I enjoy doing.”

Electrical instructor Greg Felkins said his students learn basic theories of electricity and how to wire circuits. He said he has multiple levels of students taking his classes, ranging from those learning basic electricity to ones working on commercial and industrial systems.

“The electrical field branches out and goes in more than one direction,” Felkins said. “These students have the opportunity to go into electronics because the theory is the same. They have the opportunity to go into residential wiring because it starts in the same place. Commercial wiring. It starts here at the basic levels. And then industrial.”

Felkins said it is super important for his students to participate in hands-on activities “because they’re going to see the same type things when they get out in the real world.” He said his classroom is equipped with a simulated house project.

“All the national electric code that’s involved with wiring a house, we have incorporated those things inside the house,” he said. “So there’s a garage in there. There’s a utility room in there. There’s a kitchen, bathroom and all those things.”

Felkins said that his students’ experience with the house project will give them more confidence if they later choose to work in the field.

“They’re not gonna’ be intimidated,” he said. “Because they’ve already seen it.
“To me, that’s the real deal.”

Felkins said the most rewarding part of his job is “when a student gets a job out of high school or even five years after high school and they come back in and they’re proud of where they are.”

“They’re extremely proud of making their own money with something that they learned that everyone can’t do,” he said. “They wind up with these skills that make them valuable.

“I’ve been here 22 years, and I wouldn’t have done anything else during that time.”

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