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SRP apprenticeships pave the way for women in the skilled trades 

Regulated by state and federal agencies, SRP’s 14 skilled trade apprenticeships are similar in effort to earning a degree. Four years of intensive education and on-the-job training, totaling 8,000 hours, go into an apprenticeship — and that’s after earning a spot in the competitive application process.  

The 14 available trades at SRP include: 

  • Automotive technician  
  • Cable splicer  
  • Construction and maintenance worker  
  • Control C&M technician  
  • Distribution system operator  
  • Industrial coater  
  • Lineworker
  • Machinist
  • Metal fabricator  
  • Meterman  
  • Plant electrician  
  • Plant mechanic  
  • Relay technician 

At the end of the four years comes the coveted journeyworker card and the opportunity to take the next step in your skilled trade career.  

As Debbie Camarena, a Working Foreman in SRP’s Metering group, can attest to, earning this card can be a smart move for women.  

A lifetime career  

Camarena began her career at SRP over 35 years ago as a clerk in the Metering department. Her colleagues, however, inspired her to go further.   

“Back then, we were responsible for entering all of the data for the journeymen in the field,” said Camarena. “Apprentices would come in and record their hours for the program, and they would tell me about it, describe the trade to me. I thought it seemed interesting.”  

Eventually, Camarena converted that interest into action and applied for an apprenticeship. She secured the coveted spot and, four years later, the journeyworker card that came with it.  

“I’ve been a journeyman for about 30 years now,” said Camarena. “Today I help the supervisors with the crews and make sure they have the material and information they need to do their jobs safely and efficiently.”  

Earn as you learn 

SRP offers a rigorous apprenticeship program that supports extensive education in our skilled trades. In these hands-on roles, employees operate the tools that are critical to build and maintain our water and power infrastructure. This career trajectory is one that SRP hopes other women will consider.   

Tina Drews, Director of Talent Development, explained, “If you’re a woman with interest in moving up in the trade you specialize in, an apprenticeship is a great opportunity.”  

Drews explained that the company offers education and career fairs for internal candidates who may be interested and support once they get in.  

“I believe that there’s no better way to learn than through an apprenticeship,” said Drews. “You are provided so much guidance, mentorship and fellowship through the program.”  

Tina Drews, Director of Talent Development

SRP is also proud to be recognized as an Equal Pay Business Partner by the City of Tempe.

A step toward the future  

Starting is always the hardest part, and Camarena has advice for those considering a career like hers.  

“I have two daughters, and if they were interested in a trade, I would encourage them to just go for it,” said Camarena. “I would tell any woman seeking a career in the trades to research what’s interesting and reach out to someone who does it. At SRP, you can do ride-alongs, for example.”  

Camarena said that even if the idea seems intimidating, it is worth it. She describes her career as both rewarding and challenging.  

“What you learn in the apprenticeship program is something no one can take away from you,” said Camarena. “A trade is well-paid, and it opens many doors. It allows you to expand your career.”   

Trade your skills for an SRP career

Find more information about skilled trade jobs at SRP. 

1 thought on “SRP apprenticeships pave the way for women in the skilled trades ”

  1. I completed a 4-year apprenticeship at SRP in Electronics Technology, graduating in 1989 and retiring in 2017. It’s a great program and SRP is a fantastic employer.

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