On Thursday, February 1, 2024, Kory McCullough ’17 spoke to Catholic Central students about trade school and becoming an electrician after graduation during part of the school’s Career Conference Speakers series.
McCullough currently works as an electrician for a small company called Clover. During his talk to students, he explained the process he went through to become an electrician.
After graduating from Catholic Central in 2017, McCullough stated that he didn’t want to go to college and sought an alternative route.
“When I told my dad I didn’t want to go to college, he said ‘You have to go. You don’t want to be bent over cars all day.” That’s when we found the electrical program that I went through at Michigan State University.”
The Electrical Technology program at MSU McCullough is not well known, McCullough explained. It takes several years to complete. McCullough explained that he lived in the dorms on campus while completing the program, and he took out student loans to help pay for it.
He explained that while attending trade school, he went to school three days a week for one hour and had lab on Fridays. The program was heavy on teaching code. He explained that there is a lot of legal talk students must learn, and lawyers often get involved in the legal aspect of electrical work.
During the first year of school, students can expect to learn the fundamentals of electrical work. Students dive deeper into code during the next several years of the program. The program at MSU is three semesters long with a summer internship.
When it’s time to start working as an intern or apprentice, McCullough explained that it’s important to build a good reputation from the beginning.
“When you first start working, you’ll always have someone around and you’ll build a reputation with that person. During the first six months, no one is going to trust you. But you’ll learn a lot as you go and someone will eventually take a chance on you,” he stated.
“In the trade industry, the biggest thing that’s going to guarantee your success is your reputation. Guys with a good reputation always get the best jobs. People will do everything they can to keep you if you’re a hard worker,” McCullough continued.
He advised students that they need to be present when working with an apprentice. “Be presentable. Stay off your phone. Remember, it’s not hard to find work as an electrician. It’s hard to find good people. Show up. Everything else will be taught to you.”
McCullough recommended MSU to potential electrical students, stating that he feels the school has the best program around because they hound the code book. However, students who are interested in becoming an electrician can also go through the union.
“The union pays for you to go to school in a way. You have to pay union dues, but they come back to you. They also have benefits,” stated McCullough.
“There is a high demand for young electricians right now. The older generation is retiring, and we need more electricians,” McCullough stated.
He recommended that students who are interested in going to trade school to become an electrician take trigonometry and algebra classes while at CC, stating that students will need to take a few of these classes in trade school.