More Than Keeping the Lights On | Electrical Apprenticeship Program

If you were to drive from Salt Lake City to Toronto, Canada, the distance would be around 1,900 miles. Now imagine a span of electrical wiring running the same distance. Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) has 1,9742.2 miles of electrical wiring running through its property. And that’s only one component of the intricate system that keeps electricity running at the airport. SLC boasts 176 EV charging ports, 150 which are free to the public. Inside the terminal, there thousands of seat outlets, charging ports, and light fixtures. 

At the heart of these operations are the dedicated electricians and maintenance staff who work for the Salt Lake City Department of Airports (SLCDA). 

 “Most people don’t think about electricians when they’re charging their phones, turning on a lamp, or using their devices,” says Mike O’Connor, one of SLCDA’s airfield maintenance electricians. “If you’re an electrician, you work 90% of your job in the dark so that others don’t have to.” 

A Michigan native, Mike moved to Utah after graduating high school, attracted to the “best snow on earth” and the state’s career opportunities. Mike’s interest in electrical work led him to the apprenticeship program at SLCDA.  

For over a decade, the SLCDA’s Department of Maintenance has offered an electrical apprenticeship program. One of the few accredited electrical apprenticeship employers in the state, SLCDA offers all of the prerequisites needed to become a licensed journeyman electrician.   

Through the apprenticeship program, participants complete four years of paid, on-the-job training. Two days a week, they attend trade school. Because SLCDA is a department of Salt Lake City, tuition and books for trade school are covered through the city’s tuition reimbursement program. Once the apprenticeship program is complete, the participate is eligible to take the state exam to become a licensed journeyman electrician.  

“[As an electrician], you’ll stay busy for life,” Mike said. “It’s a good job and the fact that my schooling was paid for is amazing. The city provides really great benefits, you can’t put a price tag on it.” 

To learn more about apprenticeships and other career opportunities with the SLCDA and Salt Lake City, visit the career website.