APG Takes Recruitment Efforts to New Levels
APG Electric, Inc. has been doing business in the Tampa Bay area since 1984. The company is a full-service electrical and systems contractor, providing complete design, construction, and maintenance services. A few recent projects include Jabil Corporate Office, St. Petersburg, FL, University of South Florida Yuengling Center, and the Lakeland Regional Health Central Energy Plant.
One key to the company’s success is a top-down, highly focused commitment to recruiting.
“We have worked hard to develop relationships with the CTE instructors in our area,” says Dori Fry, APG project manager. “The opportunity to get face to face with a full classroom of electrical education students is very powerful. It gives us a solid 40-45 minutes to talk with the students, tell them about the opportunities, and answer their questions.”
Dori and Vice President of Service Tim White take these opportunities seriously – they prepare diligently, speak honestly, and continue to follow up with interested students. Tim, a 37-year veteran of APG, grew up in the company so feels strongly about letting the students know that this is a career and not just a job.
“Our message in the classrooms and in all our materials speaks to the opportunities available as they work and train,” says Tim. “We talk quite clearly about the investment electrical contractors make in their apprentices and the support provided them throughout the training. We tell them – you are paid a good wage as you work daily and go to school at night. There is no debt accumulating as you prepare for your future. We provide exposure and information to the many career paths available after obtaining your journeyman electrical license. We care about you and your success.”
Earn while you learn and power up your future are consistent messages aimed at potential apprentices. These inviting options help to counter what young people hear too often from counselors, the general public, the media, and even family members.
“Some kids maybe feel that if they don’t go to a traditional college they won’t be able to find a good paying job,” Dori says. “We want them to know and understand being an electrician is a viable and respected career and that we want to make an investment in them.”
Making them understand that we want to invest in them is one of the biggest undertakings of our outreach to high school juniors and seniors, according to Tim. While APG sends different team members into the classrooms to talk with the students, they convey the same message: becoming an electrician can be a great life.
“We want them to understand the opportunity – they have a well-paid job with us while they go through the IEC Apprenticeship Program,” Tim explains. “This is a viable option, and there is no college debt. You work hard, and then you can play hard.”
At APG, they even offer an entry to seeing the electrician’s world through their intern program aimed at high school sophomores and juniors.
“Our interns are paid, and while they do not go out into the field, they work in our shop,” Tim says. “They have the chance to handle tools and equipment, interact with our experienced team as well as apprentices when they return from the field. It’s an opportunity to get a taste of the trade.”
The company’s Power Up Your Future video is one of APG’s key recruitment tools, and it features former apprentices who speak of their career progression as well as Tim speaking about his personal career journey at APG. The video makes clear the type of people they wish to attract.
Tim and Dori know that parents play an important role in supporting their child’s decision about what to do after high school.
“We send home our ‘propaganda’ when we visit with the students at their schools,” Tim jokes. “This material speaks to the parents and shows how working with us as an apprentice is a career path.”
The two-pager emphasizes APG’s tradition of excellence in the community and its tone is encouraging and supportive. It also reinforces the fact that deciding to become an electrical apprentice means having a job while working toward a career.
In addition to APG’s strong recruitment efforts, the company is just as committed to taking care of all its employees. Their website touts “We offer exceptional benefits to exceptional people – one of the many reasons why so many of our employees stay with us for decades.” These benefits include 401(k) plan with 50% employer match; health, dental, and vision insurance; paid disability and life insurance; weekly direct deposit; paid time off; paid holidays; educational opportunities; paid apprenticeship; employee family events; APG apparel; performance bonuses; safety bonuses; wellness program; muscular therapist on staff; and area attraction and business discounts.
Tim and Dori are excited about the future for APG, for electricians, and for the trades in general. When Dori visits local career fairs, she sees a definite increase in the willingness to work together.
“I’m seeing the trades and local experts working together a lot more these days,” she says. “We are supporting one another in our efforts to find solid and dependable employees.”
Do you have a workforce development story to share with IEC Insights readers? Send an email to Managing Editor Lynn Valastyan at lvalastyan@IECI.org.