T-Volt: Keeping the skilled trades alive through education
Many of our skilled technicians are nearing the age of retirement. For many years there has been an emphasis on sending high school graduates to college, other options have not been emphasized. T-Volt is working on providing an alternate route by teaching entry-level technical skills for the building trades that can start individuals on a path to a successful and rewarding career.
So far T-Volt has developed a curriculum for an electrical and plumbing course. The electrical course was finished by eighteen students. They learned entry level electrical skills from Master Electrician Vinnie Camenzuli of Taddeo Electric. T-Volt is currently in the middle of a plumbing course taught by Dennis Harmon who is a licensed Master Plumber and owner of D&D Plumbing Services.
Each class costs only $25. The costs are kept low since most of the tools are donated and T-Volt receives support from the community. T-Volt received a significant donation from Stanley Black and Decker in the form of tools valued at approximately $6000. They received two $500 grants from Walmart and a $200 grant from Harbor Freight. T- Volt has received tremendous assistance from the Educators’ Club of Timber Pines. The club has helped in a number of ways including helping with donations to buy necessary supplies and equipment. The Greater Hope Church in Kass Circle provided T-Volt free space in their community center to teach the electrical course. The plumbing course is taught in D&D Plumbing Services’ production space. Dennis said, "I am 63 and I am not going to be doing this much longer. People need to be trained to replace me." A video of each lesson is put on T-Volt's Facebook page, to be used as a reference by the students.
The target audience is unemployed, underemployed, or high school seniors not pursuing higher education. At the end of the electrical course, they had a little celebration for the 18 graduates. In attendance were two of the County Commissioners, Assistant County Administrator for Hernando County, the Economic Development Manager, Strada Electric (a big electrical employer), and three other potential employers.
Mark Johnson and Arlene Glantz started T-Volt to fill a need they saw in the community. There are few training options available for gaining basic skills to enter the trades. T-Volt was created to fill this void.
T-Volt is currently a Florida non-profit awaiting federal recognition as a 501c3. Mark Johnson and Arlene Glantz contribute their time and energy to T-Volt, they do the bookkeeping, put videos of lessons on Facebook, find potential employers, and give presentations where ever they can get invited. T-Volt is currently looking for donations to pay for liability insurance
($1500) so they can teach carpentry at the fairgrounds.
If you are interested in taking the class send an email to [email protected] to join their waiting list and indicate the program you are interested in.