Ewry and career center instructors helped the students apply for the federal positions. Their parents are pleased with their success, he said.
“One mother told me her son gets his clothes out the night before, packs his lunch and is ready to go for the next day’s work,” Ewry said. “It’s worked out well. We’re hoping to get students in the pipeline every year. It’s a great program.”
An MVCTC senior student still in the program also has been placed with CE’s natural resources program, as has another with one of the base’s contractors, he said.
The COVID-19 pandemic kept the program from being fully repeated, but officials hope it can resume in the future, said 88 CES Director Ron Lee.
“From our perspective, the program worked out well,” he said. “The students were energetic; they were motivated, and they loved learning. Our employees loved teaching them. The pride it generated on both sides was awesome.”
The students' eagerness and curiosity about the base were palpable, with all hoping to secure a permanent position, Lee said.
“The intensity, the energy were just amazing,” he added. “It energized our older folks. They were so proud to be able to teach their craft to 17- and 18 year olds.”
Daniel Jessup, 88 CES deputy director, said the young workers' motivation and sense of being part of something bigger than themselves, the patriotism, also stood out.
“The program has filled a need in our civilian workforce and made our team very proud to have them on board,” Jessup said.
One of the base’s CES supervisors working with two students said they had been a “huge benefit.”
“They have really helped out all the journeymen we have working on the jobs we do,” said Brian Dolney, 88 CES Area A electrical systems supervisor. “They have been replacing and repairing light fixtures and installing circuits alongside the journeymen. No matter which direction we send them, they go out and do what we ask them to do and then come back with a smile on their face.”
Greg Wheelock, 88 CES structures foreman, said his two students brought skills to the table from their MVCTC schooling, then “became sponges to learn commercial and residential” applications and upped everyone’s morale.
The 88 CES personnel welcomed the opportunity to train their potential replacements when they retire, Dolney added.
Electrical apprentice Nolan Pack, a 19 year old from West Carrollton, said he is grateful for a “good-paying job with a lot of benefits” and the chance to do such things as opening up panels to see how circuits work. He attends Sinclair College in the evening to continue his education and learn more about safety regulations and measures.
Construction carpentry helper Jacob Fletcher, 18, said he has enjoyed his experience and how it even helped him do odd jobs around his family’s Miamisburg home on weekends.
His favorite base project so far has been re-roofing and re-sheeting the Area A west ramp’s fire tower training site.
“I took pride in how it came out,” Fletcher said. “I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t have this job. I am happy I work on a military base. I’m learning a lot more and everybody I work with has taught me a lot.”
All 10 apprentices are on a structured civilian training program to get them to a journeyman level, Dolney said.
“Their work and training are documented every day,” Wheelock said.