Summer Job Helps Student Make Career Decision

tyler mccoy

Last summer, OHS senior Tyler McCoy worked for Ottumwa Schools. The job, however, was not a typical summer help position.

McCoy had expressed an interest in electricity to his vocational teacher, Brett Graham. Graham reached out to the district’s maintenance department to see if something could be arranged to provide his student with some practical experience. Because McCoy was 18, he was able to apply for a summer help position and shadow the district’s electrician, Lindsey Beinhart. “ ”One summer isn't a long time to teach a lot to a student, but he was willing to learn and do what he needed to do to see if he wanted to pursue being an electrician,” said Beinhart.

McCoy started after school was done for the summer and worked through August 22, eight hours a day, 40 hours per week. “I liked it,” he said.

He was surprised by the variety of jobs he assisted with, including installing new lighting in the metals lab at OHS, child proofing a room (outlets and switches) at Douma, working on air conditioning units in several buildings, both window and large air handlers, and installing new wiring in a school boiler room.

Prior to his summer experience, McCoy had taken the electricity course offered at OHS. He hopes to enter the electrical apprenticeship program at Wingers after graduation. He’ll work 40 hours a week and attend class every Friday and one Saturday a month in Burlington. It will take him five years to earn his journeyman’s card.

He is interested in this vocation for a variety of reasons, including good pay and the need for electricians. “It was fun what I did last summer,” said McCoy. “We moved around quite a bit, not just working in one area. There was something new every day.”

“Tyler got a glimpse of what it is like working with professionals in their respective trades,” said Chuck Bray, the district’s Director of Maintenance and Grounds. “He has a good work ethic and was willing to help out wherever he was needed. We all enjoyed working with him.”