I work as a Journeyman Industrial Electrician in a large factory by St. Louis, Missouri. I was one of several hired without going through an apprenticeship program. The company stopped the program in 1994. I'm not sure why but I've heard rumors about lost federal funding.
I think this will be a huge loss for the future of the company and for younger electricians trying to make a career. The company will not hire unless you have 6 years industrial electrician background. Kind of a catch-22. How do you get 6 years without being hired?
I know first hand how hard it is not only to find work as an industrial electrician but to get training for it. I've moved to different states just to stay in my field. I even took a two dollar an hour cut in pay and lost all my benefits just to stay in my profession. Hope I don't sound like I'm bragging but I don't see that devotion from some of the younger generation. But that was probably said about my generation too!LOL. To get my degree, I worked straight days and went to college 4 hours a night. 4 days a week for 2 years straight with no breaks. It sucked but I'm glad I did it.
I wish I could have went through an apprenticeship program. I'm not saying it would be any less demanding but I'm still paying off all the college courses I've taken. Some of the older electricians at work were hired straight out of high school, got paid while getting their training, and had full benefits the whole time! That's the way it should be but companies don't want to pay for it.
Times are defintely changing too. My company keeps buying new machines that require an engineering degree just to work on them. But they won't train us either. I guess they figure we will get the training on our own with our funds.
I'll stop now because I could go on forever!