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WIS participants inducted into local ibew 146

There are many similarities in the stories of Jakivin Jenkins and Andrea Kelly. Both are Decatur residents, dedicated parents, and young workers with an enthusiastic desire to work as electricians. That desire started to become a reality after another similarity was added into Jenkins and Kelly’s stories: they both entered Workforce’s Youth Career Pathways program and started the Illinois Works’ pre-apprenticeship class on February 14, 2022.

A free course designed to promote trade careers to young workers and remove financial barriers that may stand in the way of obtaining certifications, the pre-apprenticeship program provided both Jenkins and Kelly the opportunity they were seeking to secure a better future for themselves and their families.

Jenkins, a 2016 Eisenhower High School graduate, is a dedicated father to his son. While Jenkins had previously worked in the construction industry before joining the pre-apprenticeship program, his ultimate goal was to become an electrician. Employed part-time, Jenkins joined the program looking to gain knew knowledge and skills while completing the application process for the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).

Kelly, a 2020 graduate of MacArthur High School, is a dedicated single mother. Before joining the pre-apprenticeship program, Kelly held a job full-time position at McDonald’s. After beginning the pre-apprenticeship classes, Kelly continued her employment at McDonald’s and balanced both responsibilities until she reached the Work Experience segment of the program. Kelly described this moment as a “leap of faith”, as quitting a full-time job to fully embrace the opportunities that the pre-apprentice class offered required courage and trust that she would achieve her goals.

Jenkins and Kelly both entered the pre-apprenticeship program with similar backgrounds, but that was only the beginning of their parallel journeys. Both students successfully completed the pre-apprenticeship courses and were placed with bodine in Decatur to complete their eight weeks of work experience. Four weeks into this work experience segment, Jenkins and Kelly were both hired by Bodine, officially beginning their careers as professional electricians. They have partnered with experienced electrical journeymen and have worked on projects for ADM, Fuayo, and Mueller. Jenkins and Kelly’s stories became full circle when they were both inducted into the Local IBEW 146 on February 14, 2023, exactly one year after they began their journeys.

Jenkins and Kelly’s incredible stories are a testament to their determination to accomplish their goals and embrace new possibilities, and the impact of their stories has spread well beyond the borders of Decatur. In February 2023, Andrea Kelly attended the State of the Union Address as a personal guest of Illinois Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski.

We at Workforce Investment Solutions congratulate both Jakivin and Andrea on their success, and we cannot wait to see what they continue to accomplish in the future!

There are many similarities in the stories of Jakivin Jenkins and Andrea Kelly. Both are Decatur residents, dedicated parents, and young workers with an enthusiastic desire to work as electricians. That desire started to become a reality after another similarity was added into Jenkins and Kelly’s stories: they both entered Workforce’s Youth Career Pathways program and started the Illinois Works’ pre-apprenticeship class on February 14, 2022.

A free course designed to promote trade careers to young workers and remove financial barriers that may stand in the way of obtaining certifications, the pre-apprenticeship program provided both Jenkins and Kelly the opportunity they were seeking to secure a better future for themselves and their families.

Jenkins, a 2016 Eisenhower High School graduate, is a dedicated father to his son. While Jenkins had previously worked in the construction industry before joining the pre-apprenticeship program, his ultimate goal was to become an electrician. Employed part-time, Jenkins joined the program looking to gain knew knowledge and skills while completing the application process for the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).

Kelly, a 2020 graduate of MacArthur High School, is a dedicated single mother. Before joining the pre-apprenticeship program, Kelly held a job full-time position at McDonald’s. After beginning the pre-apprenticeship classes, Kelly continued her employment at McDonald’s and balanced both responsibilities until she reached the Work Experience segment of the program. Kelly described this moment as a “leap of faith”, as quitting a full-time job to fully embrace the opportunities that the pre-apprentice class offered required courage and trust that she would achieve her goals.

Jenkins and Kelly both entered the pre-apprenticeship program with similar backgrounds, but that was only the beginning of their parallel journeys. Both students successfully completed the pre-apprenticeship courses and were placed with bodine in Decatur to complete their eight weeks of work experience. Four weeks into this work experience segment, Jenkins and Kelly were both hired by Bodine, officially beginning their careers as professional electricians. They have partnered with experienced electrical journeymen and have worked on projects for ADM, Fuayo, and Mueller. Jenkins and Kelly’s stories became full circle when they were both inducted into the Local IBEW 146 on February 14, 2023, exactly one year after they began their journeys.

Jenkins and Kelly’s incredible stories are a testament to their determination to accomplish their goals and embrace new possibilities, and the impact of their stories has spread well beyond the borders of Decatur. In February 2023, Andrea Kelly attended the State of the Union Address as a personal guest of Illinois Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski.

We at Workforce Investment Solutions congratulate both Jakivin and Andrea on their success, and we cannot wait to see what they continue to accomplish in the future!

Jakivin Jenkins (Middle Left) and Andre Kelly (Middle Right) with Workforce Investment Solutions Executive Director Rocki Wilkerson (Left) and Illinois Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski (Right)