Regulated by state and federal agencies, SRP skilled trade apprenticeships are similar in effort to earning a diploma. Four years and 8,000 hours of intensive education and on-the-job training go into an apprenticeship — and that’s after earning a spot in the competitive application process.
At the end of the four years, though, 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 30-year SRP career
Camarena began her career at SRP 36 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,” she said. “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,” she said. “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.”
An option for anyone — women included
This career trajectory is one that SRP hopes other women will consider.
Tina Drews, Director of Talent Management, 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,” she said. “You are provided so much guidance, mentorship and fellowship through the program.”
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,” she said. “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,” she said. “A trade is well-paid, and it opens many doors. It allows you to expand your career.”