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Workforce Wednesday: Celebrating National Apprenticeship Week with Shomari Gaunichaux

Nov. 17, 2021, GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- GRCC Workforce Training programs provide in-demand skills leading to rewarding careers. Each Wednesday we’ll meet students who are heading down an educational pathway and changing their lives by earning occupational certificates.

Shomari Gaunichaux decided in 2018 he was ready to transition out of working in the service industry. He did some research and soul searching to determine if he wanted to enroll in a degree program or gain skills and become a trades person.

“I ultimately landed on the trades. It was a good fit for me. Although I only had minimal experience in construction, I enrolled in the Construction Electrical Job Training program.”

The GRCC Construction Electrical Job Training program provides the basic knowledge and skills required to become an electrician and be placed in an Electrical Apprenticeship program in just 18 weeks of training.

Toward the end of Gaunichaux’s program, representatives from Parkway Electrical visited his class and talked to the students. Shortly after that, Parkway came back for interviews and Gaunichaux was hired.

“I think I started at Parkway the very next week after I graduated from the Job Training program. Once I started working, the apprenticeship program was next.”

This week marks the seventh annual National Apprenticeship Week sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor. Apprenticeship Week is a nationwide celebration where industry, labor, equity, workforce, education, and government leaders showcase the successes and value of Registered Apprenticeship.

GRCC’s Electrical Apprenticeship program is a four-year program and consists of 10 classes taken in the evenings over that period of time. Gaunichaux is nearing the end of the program and plans to sit for the State Journeyman Exam next summer.

“All of this has been a great experience for me. I have been able to work, and get paid, while continuing to go to school. I’m so fortunate that my employer pays my tuition,” he said.

“Once I pass the test, hopefully on the first try, I will receive my Journeyman’s card. That will mean a pay raise and some other really valuable benefits!

“I always knew I wanted to do something more but I could have never seen this as my future. Last week, I welcomed my first child, Natalie Jade. It’s been great. She’s perfect.”

Anyone interested in gaining career skills through GRCC Workforce Training can connect via email at workforcetraining@grcc.edu, and by phone at (616) 234-3800.

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