High Cost of Education Sparks Bright Idea


Texan Cameron Meyer found apprenticeship provided a path to career opportunities as an electrical lineman.

On the brink of becoming an independent adult, there were many paths Texas native Cameron Meyer had to consider. He saw education as his best option and began to study construction management at a California community college. At the same time, the 18-year-old was holding down a full-time job earning around $220 per week.

By the time Meyer learned about the U.S. Department of Labor’s Sector of Excellence Apprenticeship, he was quickly realizing the long days of studying, working and trying to make ends meet were becoming too challenging. A family friend who was aware that a surge in retirements by older workers had created a shortage of electrical linemen, suggested Meyer try the field.

Silhouette of workers inspecting telephone lines. Demand for linemen has increased in Texas.

The idea prompted him to do some research. He recalled thinking: “I could keep struggling, always exhausted by full-time work and school, barely getting by, having to borrow money, or I could take another route.” After learning more about how the department was fostering partnerships between employers, training providers and community-based organizations to increase the number of apprentices nationwide, Meyer enrolled in a 15-week lineman apprenticeship program.

His decision to enroll in Northwest Lineman College in Denton, Texas, was “a no brainer.” Choosing an apprenticeship, he said, gave him “classroom and on-the-job training,” and spared him the debt and obligation of student loans.  After graduation, a local company – Power Line Services Inc. – hired Meyer as an apprentice lineman for its four-year program. The company paid his apprenticeship fees and his wages.

At 24, Meyer is now a foreman who supervises other linemen, and is on his way to a career in his new field.

To learn more about exploring opportunities to be an apprentice, or if you’re an employer who would like to find out how apprenticeship can work for you, please visit dol.gov /apprenticeship.

Editor’s note: The “DOL Working for You” series highlights the department’s programs in action. View other blog posts in the series here.

Dudley Light is Regional Director for Region 4 in the Office of Apprenticeship.


Source: High Cost of Education Sparks Bright Idea

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