North Carolina Construction News special feature
leading electrical subcontractor throughout New England and the Southeast, Wayne J. Griffin Electric, Inc. has seen first-hand the impact of women in leadership and recognizes the importance of fostering an environment in which women have access to education, support, and opportunities to be successful in the trades.
Women of the Griffin Electric team are succeeding on all fronts and making significant contributions on the jobsite, in the office and in the classroom. Several women from the company recently shared their perspectives of working in the trades.
Griffin Electric visits vocational and traditional high schools, as well as many other minority, women’s, and veteran’s organizations to promote the apprenticeship option as a pathway to a rewarding career in the electrical trade.
“We offer an opportunity to both work and get an income while going to school and building a career towards becoming a journeyperson electrician. It’s a great start to a great career,” says Donna David, director of Human Resources.
“I was always pushed into thinking that college was the only route to have a fulfilling career, but it never really felt like what I should be doing,” says a Level 3 apprentice at Griffin who has been with the company for over 2 years. “Once I took the leap and started my career in the trades, I realized that this is what I should have been doing all along! Sometimes you just need to take a leap of faith.”
For over 25 years, Griffin Electric has prepared many for rewarding careers in the electrical trade through its free, in-house Apprenticeship Training Program. The program is accredited by the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) and designated as an approved training site by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Throughout the school year, classroom and hands-on instruction takes place in the 27,500-sq. ft. of dedicated training space that is part of Griffin’s headquarters in Holliston, MA, and on-site at each of the company’s regional offices in Alabama, Georgia, and North Carolina.
In addition to 600 hours of classroom instruction, apprentices benefit from on-the-job learning, where they earn excellent wages and benefits while gaining 8,000 hours of practical field experience under the supervision of a licensed journeyperson.
Understanding how critical it is to offer resources that employees can count on to continue to grow in their career, the company grants employees $2,000 in tuition reimbursement annually and offers a mix of professional and personal improvement courses throughout the year. With most voluntary classes offered via remote video access, employees throughout all of Griffin’s regions have a chance to participate.
The company has also proudly partnered with Wentworth Institute of Technology and offers licensed graduates of its apprenticeship program an opportunity to further their education through an Associate Degree Program. So far, two graduating classes of 26 Griffin employees have achieved an Associate of Applied Science in Engineering Technology degree, with the company covering up to 70% of tuition costs.
A recent expansion of the program for an upcoming third cohort will allow Southeast employees to also make the most of this rare opportunity to get the best of both worlds: an electrical license and an Associate degree with limited financial burden.
An underlying desire to work hard and a commitment to self-improvement and development are traits that will help women be successful in this industry. “You don’t need to know everything, but you do need to be willing to learn,” says a project engineer from the Southeast region who has been with the company for almost thirteen years. “Listen to those around you that teach and mentor. Be unafraid to pick up the phone, ask questions, and dig to get the information and results you need.”
Women who adopt this mentality and are dedicated to their craft have opportunities to advance their careers at Griffin Electric. There is no cookie-cutter approach to the path that an employee must take, and the company strives to empower each individual to create her own future. Since its inception in 1978, women have grown with the company and have ascended into various leadership roles.
“Working in construction has a whole range of possibilities,” says a member of the Griffin CAD team who has been with the company for over a year. “You could be a project manager, a foreman, work in an office setting creating drawings in CAD – the possibilities are endless; it’s all about what you really want.”
The experiences and collective accomplishments of the women of the Griffin team not only make a difference for the company, but changes the trajectory for their families and offers a blueprint to the next generation of young girls considering a career in the trades.
“Seeing other women in this trade thrive and succeed is so important to the other little girls growing up. We have the power to change how society views construction workers,” says the third-year apprentice. Griffin Electric is proud to employ a team of strong and talented women who are leading the way for the next generation.
For more information about Griffin Electric and its employment opportunities, please visit www.waynejgriffinelectric.com/careers/open-positions, call its recruiting hotline at 800-421-0151, or email your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.