IBEW Local 295 “Apprentice of the Year”- Antonio Brown

Posted by Thao Nelson - On July 02, 2009 (EST)


Editor's Note:  This is an interview with Antonio Brown, a recent electrician apprenticeship graduate and Army Reservist.  The interview was conducted by Jonathan Bibb, Program Manager, and Bill Stoecker, Area Supervisor, DWE Apprenticeship Office.

Antonio became interested in working in the electrical field as a child when his father was training in electronics.  While in High School he made plans to become an electrical engineer, and based on this career path, worked toward preparing himself for college.  Initially, he attended Christian Brothers University (CBU) in Memphis because of its excellent engineering program.  He attended CBU approximately a year and although he enjoyed the University and Memphis he was unable to complete their program. 

Antonio returned to Little Rock and began attending the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR).  While in attendance there, he began working at Home Depot at which time, he was informed on how to become and Electrical Apprentice.  It was also during the same timeframe that he joined the Military (Army Reserves).  Antonio explained, “While I was working at Home Depot, I had a regular customer named Eddie.  He and I became good friends, and I knew he was in the construction business, so I asked him how to become an electrician.”

Luckily, Eddie was a member of the Steel Workers’ Union and knew a great deal about apprenticeship and the path to becoming an electrician.  Eddie gave Antonio the contact information for the IBEW’s Electrical Apprenticeship Program and told him to contact the program to find out about how to become an apprentice electrician.  Shortly after this, Antonio contacted the IBEW, interviewed to become an apprentice, and was selected. 

Antonio completed his five year apprenticeship this year.  Based on his level of skill attainment and commitment to the trade, he was selected as the IBEW Local 295 “Apprentice of the Year”.  He completed his entire apprenticeship program and never missed a night of technical related training.  He did have a few excused absences while he was fulfilling his obligations of serving the country in the Army Reserves.

When asked about his apprenticeship training Antonio recalled, “On a scale of 1 to 10, it was definitely at 10.  It was the longest and shortest five years of my life”. 

Antonio went on to say, “I really wished I would have been told about apprenticeship while I was going to high school.  I think if I knew more about it, I may have chosen to become an electrician right out of high school.  It is a great career choice.  The training was great.  Many times I was able to receive one-on-one training with the instructors, and I was able to build some great relationships with people in my apprenticeship classes”.

Since Antonio was serving his country in the military while attending apprenticeship, he was able to utilize funding from the Montgomery G.I. Bill.  This resource served as an aide in providing extra income for personal costs related to his training.  Also, he has been able to exercise both his apprenticeship training and military training in communications technology to diversify his job skills.  He knows this will enhance his abilities to become a bigger asset to employers.

Antonio plans to work toward obtaining his masters license in the near future.  In addition, he has not ruled out going back to college to attain a degree in electrical engineering.  In addition, he is exploring the option of starting up his own company after he becomes a master electrician.  As he put it, “I will have many opportunities and I plan on learning throughout my lifetime to help take advantage of these opportunities”. 



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Modified On : October 27, 2009
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