Graduate - ABC program helpful

August 17, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

After receiving a degree from Hagerstown Business College, Rob Babcock went to work in the graphic design field.

But he soon realized that spending eight hours each day in front of a computer was not for him. So Babcock, 31, gave up air conditioning and a desk for a career as an electrician.

The Hagerstown resident said he enjoys working at Ellsworth Electric, where he has been employed for more than four years, and wanted to learn more about his career by completing a four-year Associated Builders & Contractors apprenticeship.

Babcock graduated Thursday, along with 31 others who completed similar apprenticeships in carpentry, electrical work, plumbing and other areas.

"I wanted to gain the knowledge," he said. "There's only so much you can learn on the job."

The graduates have learned about their trades through a combination of class work and on-the-job training.

Babcock is the only graduate to have perfect attendance for four years. He attended class twice each week after work.


"Four years goes by pretty quick," he said. "But it's been tough."

After work, Babcock often would want to relax or spend time with his family instead of going to class. He said he made the decision to attend because he wanted to learn.

"If you put your mind to it, you can do it," he said.

Babcock graduated from Williamsport High School in 1994, and said he spent six years in the U.S. Navy before enrolling at Hagerstown Business College.

He has been working for about one month doing electrical installation work at the site of a new Best Buy off of Garland Groh Boulevard.

Babcock said he enjoys electrical work because he rarely does the same thing each day.

"The weather kind of gets to you, though," he said. "You're outside if it's 3 degrees or 112 degrees. But I like working with my hands."

Babcock's wife, Amy Babcock, and his father, Duane Babcock, were with him Thursday to celebrate his graduation from the apprenticeship program. The night's graduates now are called journeymen and journeywomen.

Babcock said attendance at Associated Builders & Contractors classes is not required to work for Ellsworth Electric. He chose to take the classes to earn the respect of his co-workers and show that he wanted to learn.

"When I started out, I didn't know anything about electricity," he said. "I knew that you flip on the light switch and the light turns on."

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