Stephanie L.

Apprentice Electrician

“When I graduated from high school, I wasn’t sure what path to take. I was college-bound, headed to Grand Valley State University; I knew that much. What I didn’t know was what kind of career I wanted to aim for, or even what I wanted my major to be. My dad encouraged me to take some business courses, since I had held jobs consistently since I was 14 years old. I prided myself on my work ethic, so I took his advice.

My first business class at GVSU was Accounting 101. It felt comfortable. I liked math, and I immediately knew that accounting was something I could do. So that’s what I did: I pursued my bachelor’s in business administration and ended up graduating with a degree in accounting and general management. I worked in accounting for several years after graduation, but I didn’t enjoy it. I used to joke that I could have done most of my work from a closet: Anything I needed to get done, I could do over the phone. I didn’t have as much personal interaction as I would have liked.

I started to research and think about an alternate career path, and I found the skilled trades, specifically the M-Tech program at Grand Rapids Community College. M-Tech had career-tech offerings in a range of different trades, including electrical, computer science, welding, automotive, and more. I enrolled in a five-month construction electrician certificate program. Just like that, I was off on a new adventure.

That adventure continues today at Windemuller, where I took a job as an apprentice electrician in January 2021. Finally, I feel like I am on the right path. I love learning new things, working with my hands, and working in many different environments. Most of all, I enjoy being part of a team, collaborating closely with my colleagues to build something we can all be proud of. There’s so much personal interaction and engagement with this job, and it’s just the kind of fulfilling work environment I dreamed of during my accounting days.

What’s next? For now, I’m focused on growing my experience and pointing ahead, eventually, to the journeyman test. After that, who knows? I am excited to continue learning and see where this path leads me.”