Stultz will go on to compete in ABC National Craft Championship
Ten of Southeastern Michigan Construction Academy’s (SEMCA) best electrical students gathered recently to compete to be crowned this year’s Craft Champion. The winner will represent SEMCA and compete in the ABC Craft Championship in Long Beach, CA.
“Every part of our lives has electrical components involved: our homes, office buildings, telecommunications networks, broadband systems, even our transportation grids all rely on electrical power,” said Mickey Mortimer, ABC SEMI and SEMCA Vice President. “Electricians truly are America’s backbone, and without them, we’d be in a bad way. That is why our mission here is so important. And to showcase our students’ talents in this way shines a needed light on the career opportunities that are available today as an electrician.”
When the dust settled on the competition, Christopher Stultz, a third-year student who works for Wire Works Electrical Contractors, Inc. in Saint Clair Shores, MI, was crowned this year’s victor. Stultz is an Army veteran and his SEMCA instructor is Bruce Toward.
“This is an amazing opportunity for Chris to really show his abilities on a national stage,” said Mortimer. “Along with an all expense trip to Long Beach, CA, Chris won a DeWalt 20 volt power tool set and rolling tool chest which we hope will help him in his work at Wire Works Electrical.”
John Danic, instructor and moderator for the ABC SEMI Craft Championship, was impressed with how all the students competed showing a variety of skills they have learned regarding electrical work. He feels that the contest is a very real-world representation of what they would and will experience on a job. Having witnessed previous National Craft Championships, Danic feels that Stultz’ work will stand up well with the rest of the nation’s top ABC electrical students.
“The knowledge is all there,” Danic said. “Yes, it will be a bit awe-inspiring to be on the national competition stage challenging yourself against an arena filled with hundreds of other competitors, but at the end of the day, the skills you have learned here have more than prepared you to take on that challenge. I am proud of the work our students do and am confident they measure up with the best of the best in any electrical trade school in the nation.”
Stultz could see that a shortage of skilled trade workers looming on the horizon in Michigan. The demand for electricians is projected to grow 9%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. He knew that this was what he wanted to do for a living—for a career.
“I was already working in the industry when I decided to complete a four-year apprenticeship to become an electrician,” Stultz said. “It was just taking the next step for a better future. The pay and the benefits are better than most jobs. I’m doing a lot better than most guys I know with four-year college degrees.”
With electricians being paid more than $70,000 a year, Stultz thought it was a better living and he wanted to get his apprenticeship training in a merit shop system.
“In my opinion, I would push for going into a trade over going to college. There aren’t many places where you get four years of training while getting paid for going to school,” he said. “I know people who have four-year college degrees and wind up in the trades because they couldn’t find a job to pay for debt, they put themselves in. It’s a no-brainer.”
ABC SEMI President Keith Ledbetter could not agree with Stultz more.
“I think for many years, there was big push for college,” Ledbetter said. “We still need people in college, but the bad part is there are many young people who go to college and incur a tremendous amount of debt and in the end, there are no opportunities for them. If you get your apprenticeship training here you can go anywhere in the world and install, maintain and repair electrical power, communications, lighting, and control systems in homes, businesses and factories.”