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Electrician Apprenticeship Program

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May 21, 2024

Travis Electrical Service is eager to invest – invest in its vocation, its community and, most importantly, its people. Since 2022, the Travis Electrical Service Apprenticeship Program has worked to hone the skills of both current and future electricians in Clarksville, Tennessee. Travis Electrical Service employees who complete the four-year Department of Labor certified program will then qualify as journeyman-level electricians. For a local business that proudly refers to itself as a “family,” this apprenticeship program represents a strong investment in its own future.

Chris Travis, founder of Travis Electrical Service (TES), and his wife, Stephanie, had been toying with the idea of an in-house apprenticeship program for years. However, it wasn’t until an unexpected pandemic brought the world to a standstill that the time felt right for movement. Nationwide shutdowns of 2020 meant that many companies had to adapt their own business practices, and for Travis Electrical, this meant shifting focus to growing the skills of their own employees rather than depending on outside hires. As Stephanie Travis explained, they wanted to “polish the diamonds they already had in house.”

The Travis Electrical Service Apprenticeship Program (TESAP) was officially registered in early 2022, and the first classes began that fall. Running similar to an average academic calendar year, the program requires participants to complete 144 hours of classroom instruction while also logging 2,000 hours of on-the-job experience per year (of four years total). Classes take place two evenings per week, using company facilities and instructors who are hired from within their own team.

The Travises are no strangers to the world of education, both having taken part in the founding of Clarksville Christian School. Stephanie in particular, being an educator herself, took charge of researching options for the apprenticeship training program and testing employee interest. When an initial interest form distributed at a “family meeting” – their term for a company-wide gathering – resulted in 25 names, she knew they had to proceed.

Caleb Roberts, who is now a level-two apprentice, was one of the employees eager to take advantage of the inaugural program. “I knew that it would benefit me in the long run, no matter what,” he said. “I knew that the time would pass, and if I took this very nice proposal, then it would turn me into a better electrician.”

Nick Brooks, another level-two apprentice, had similar reasons for signing up. “I enjoy learning,” Brooks said, “but I didn’t want to go all the way to Nashville [for more training]. So whenever they gave us the opportunity to learn here, I was all for it. The program gives me opportunities to learn and grow and gain knowledge.”

TESAP instructor Chris Spillman has been with the company for almost five years. Although he himself was trained through a similar apprenticeship program in Georgia years ago, he knew that taking on the role of “classroom instructor” would push him a bit out of his comfort zone. But so far, the experience has proven rewarding.

“It’s been fulfilling,” Spillman said. “I wasn’t expecting that when I started because I’ve been doing electrical work for 30 years, and I’ve been teaching for six months or so. It’s the same thing you’ve been doing but in a different way. Luckily we’ve got a good bunch of people that actually want to learn, and their ages range from 19 to 40, so it’s great to see all of them progressing with it. It’s really cool.”

Utilizing the Mike Holt curriculum, a program noted for its quality training tools, weekly classes combine live instruction, video tutorials, lab activities, and both physical and virtual books. The students are even provided with Chromebooks to complete their work and assessments.

In the field, apprentices get the opportunity to work with many different mentors and professionals, depending on the job. For every entry-level apprentice, a journeyman-level electrician must be present to mentor them.

Level-one apprentice Garrett Hoback said that this combination of classroom and field training has benefited him in numerous ways. “Being able to learn something in the classroom and then later being able to apply it out in the field – that’s a very big advantage,” he said. He especially appreciates “learning calculations, formulas and code” to help make his job easier.

Aaron McAbee, also a level-one student, agrees that the training has already strengthened his own job performance. “The on-the-job stuff will teach you how to do something, but being an apprentice and going through the program teaches you why you do something and how things function scientifically,” McAbee said. “So it explains a lot of the theory behind electricity, and it better prepares me to put in equipment.”

Although the program is still young, it is safe to say that TESAP has already made a positive impact on its participants, many of whom said they hope to remain employed with Travis Electrical Service long after they have achieved journeyman electrician status.

Level-one apprentice Randal Worden shared his appreciation for his time with TES thus far: “I enjoy the community and the people that I work with. My foreman is very knowledgeable, and I try to gain as much knowledge as I can from him as well as every other foreman that I’ve worked with. I just like the establishment as a whole for Travis and how they do things.”

Preston Waechtler, one of the original group of students and now a level-two apprentice, could not be happier with his choice of employer. “Travis is by far my favorite company to have worked with,” he said. “They put their employees first and make sure that we’re taken care of, and I agree with that setup. The better your employees are taken care of, the better they are going to work – the more effort they are going to put into making sure that everything is taken care of because they want to continue working here. I’ve been completely satisfied with my time here, and I look forward to actually having a career through Travis Electrical Service.”

For Stephanie Travis and the leadership of TES, the apprenticeship program demonstrates numerous advantages for their growing company. Not only does it allow them to adapt to a changing market and keep up-to-date on the newest technology and trends, but it also supports their employees by creating a healthy and enriched team which is ready to provide exceptional service to its loyal customers.

The Travis Electrical Service Apprenticeship Program is currently only open to TES employees, but those interested in learning more about the program or about Travis Electrical Service may visit

The vision of Travis Electrical Service is to build lifelong relationships with its customers based upon its unwavering principles of trust, excellence, service and being a team player. A family-owned business that has been serving Clarksville, Tennessee, and its surrounding communities since 2007, Travis Electrical provides top quality commercial, industrial and residential services for homes and businesses. To learn more, visit or call 931-542-2878.