Chris Brown Journeyman Electrician, Lansing, MI

"I'm a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. I left active duty in 2005 after 13 years of service. I bounced around, job to job, always being told, 'Thank you for your service, but we don't have any room.' When I started my IBEW apprenticeship in 2012, they told me they were honored to bring more veterans on board. I've been a journeyman wireman for two years now. The skills and benefits have allowed me to help put my daughter through college. I'm able to put my 8-year-old son in a stellar hockey program. I'm no longer struggling with bills and have a great benefits package, and I'm no longer worried about retirement or the future."

Ryan Roe Foreman, Raleigh, NC

“I learned this craft the hard way, working nonunion for 12 years before I organized into the IBEW. The apprentices I see come through IBEW training are miles ahead of the nonunion side, well-trained on systems, not just the basics. I’m fortunate to work alongside true craftspeople in this union who take safety and professionalism seriously. They’re a huge benefit to the entire industry.”

David Frohnapple Retired Journeyman Wireman, Gary and Hammond, IN

“I joined the IBEW a couple of years after serving in Vietnam with the U.S. Marine Corps and worked for 38 years before being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Because of the IBEW, we put kids through college and I have the health care and benefits that my wife and I need to live comfortably in retirement. I’m just a regular working schlump who wanted a career that provided for my family. My union gave me that opportunity.”

Na'Quelle Davis Apprentice Electrician, Seattle, WA

"I studied philosophy in college, but I decided I wanted to work with my hands. I was drawn to the IBEW and apprenticeships in general because they were exactly what I wished college had been. A formal, consistent training and education program that wouldn't leave me in debt or financially stressed. I've never had such thorough training before starting a job."

Randall Albertson Journeyman Electrician, Kalamazoo, MI

“In the electrical field, there are so many paths you can take, and the IBEW’s apprenticeship program gives you the tools to be successful. I’ve had an opportunity to pursue many of those paths, so I’m not limited to one area. As the economy changes, as customers’ needs change, I’m able to adapt to those changes and still be employable. I’m able to take classes in fiber optics, medium voltage splicing and leadership training to help further my career in this field.”

David Terwilleger Journeyman Electrician/Training Director, Austin, TX

"Because of the IBEW, I was able to support my family and look forward to a time when I would be able to comfortably retire and not rely on others to support me. The opportunity to advance in the trade was important too. In fact, the most valuable aspect of being an electrician in a trade union is the freedom to manage my career any way I want. For those who like independence and the feeling of control over your destiny, look into an apprenticeship."