Each day, Justin Trang works alongside both electrical and mechanical engineers — an educational experience that has opened his eyes to his full range of career possibilities. It all began with a conversation with his teacher — one that prompted him to apply for a position with Guilford Apprenticeship Partners (GAP). The GAP program provides students with free college classes, work experience, and a steady paycheck.
“I was planning on going to community college after high school anyway,” Justin said. “This would give me a job and paid tuition.”
While the program seemed like a no-brainer for the financial benefits, he soon learned that it would help him lay out a path to a meaningful career.
“I knew I wanted to attend UNC Charlotte and study some form of engineering,” he explained. “I was thinking mechanical, but now that I’ve worked on the electrical side, I want to pursue that.”
Justin was hired as an apprentice at ABCO Automation. In his role, he is involved with electrical assembly, building control panels and wire terminals.
“It’s a mix of independent work and working under a mentor,” he explained. “I am shown how to do a task and then set out on my own to complete related tasks over a few days.”
Justin says the experience is much more rewarding than just going to school. He has learned to work with blueprints and schematics from experts and is becoming proficient with electrician tools through the apprenticeship.
“As an apprentice, you receive guidance from real workers who are doing what you will be doing one day,” he said. “It’s a very engaging experience.”
Justin is not only gaining hands-on experience; he says the guided educational track is highly beneficial.
“In the program, they set up your classes based on what they know you will need.”
When his apprenticeship is over, Justin still hopes to attend UNC Charlotte and continue working toward his engineering career.