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Workforce Wednesday: Josh Kia Alviar enrolls in Construction Electrical Job Training Program to help his family

Sept. 8, 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.

Joshua Kia Alviar is a family man. Prior to enrolling into the Construction Electrical Job Training program, he was working as a stay-at-home dad with his two children, ages six and three.

“Previous to staying at home, I was in the service industry bartending and serving. As I lost my job due to COVID, my wife got a work opportunity. It worked out good that I could stay home with my kid,” he said.

While home, Kia Alviar thought about his family’s future.

“I had taken a tour of the Tassell M-TEC a couple of years ago now, a friend of mine starting talking to me about skilled trades and I just started looking online. I didn’t even know that GRCC had programs like this and I was a student here before!” 

He’ll finish the program next month. 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.

Students participate in job site, lab area, field trip and classroom settings. Learning is hands-on in all areas of electrical installation including employability skills, construction and electrical safety, hand and power tool safety, electrical math, electrical history, electrical theory, the National Electrical Code, electrical material identification, blue print reading, underground installations and residential/commercial wiring.

“I love the program! I feel like I have learned a lot and I really enjoy the work, which you never know when you make that choice,” Kia Alviar said.

“If I had gone right into a job, I’m sure I would have had a boss riding me a little bit harder than an instructor. I love that I will be going into a job with all this knowledge I’ve learned. Definitely gives me confidence.”

Once graduates of this program are hired, they may register as an apprentice electrician, and request to have their certificate articulated into credit that applies to their state required four years of training.

“I have a job lined up already! I finish this program on a Thursday and start my job as an apprentice electrician on Monday.”

He was connected to his new employer, Shoreline Power Services, by an instructor.

Kia Alviar made this career change to provide a better future for his kids.

“In the service industry, you can make a lot of money, and I was, but I need health benefits for my family and retirement. That is not available in the service industry.”

“I’m willing to get paid less for now because the potential for making more money is definitely there. My family is my why.”

According to the Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, there will be 16 percent job growth annually in this field from 2012 to 2022. Average wage per hour is $23.78.

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

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