‘Cameron was an honor student and could do anything he wanted to.’

 

The Apprentice
Fresh out of High School, Cameron Gorin Is Learning the Ways of an Electrician as He Navigates Life in the Real World

Story and Photos by:
Allen Allnoch

Just two months removed from high school graduation, Cameron Gorin met the real world head-on in late July 2016.

The Kennesaw Mountain High graduate had just begun a five-year apprenticeship with 1electric, an Atlanta-based electrical contractor for commercial facilities.

He quickly came to a realization about the commute from his home in Kennesaw: “Rush hour is not fun.”

No one would argue with that assessment, but thanks to his work with 1electric, Cameron is gaining valuable experience, saving money and perhaps most important, “learning to be an adult,” he says.

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Cameron’s high school studies included a three-part “Construction Pathway” under Jeremy Whitaker, Construction Trades Teacher at KMHS. That curriculum, which introduces students to occupational safety and the various construction disciplines, piqued his interest in electrical work.

Cameron also competed in the SkillsUSA Team Works competition. During his junior year, he helped his team advance to the state championships and earn a second-place finish against more experienced teams.

Whitaker introduced him to the Atlanta Electrical Contractors Association, which places high school graduates in an apprenticeship program to become journeyman electricians.

Looking back on his final year of high school, Cameron recalls, “I wanted to go to college, but I couldn’t afford it, and I wasn’t even sure what I wanted to study right away. Then Mr. Whitaker told me about the apprenticeship program. I thought it would be a good idea to go through it, and if I do still want to go to college when I’m finished, I’ll be able to pay for it.”

Indeed, says Whitaker, while Cameron’s career path may not be set in stone at this point, he’s clearly headed in the right direction.

“Cameron was an honor student and could do anything he wanted to,” Whitaker says. “But he excelled in construction and likes doing electrical work, so I introduced him to the electrical apprenticeship program. He saw what that program offered, how much he can make over five years, and that when he leaves he’ll be a journeyman electrician. That’s a skill he’ll have for the rest of his life. So whatever he does, whether he goes to college or not, he’ll always have that skill that will allow him to make not just a decent living, but a very good living.”

Cameron has worked on several job sites around Atlanta, with the majority of his time coming at Ponce City Market in Decatur. 1electric oversees electrical maintenance throughout the sprawling mixed-use complex, located in the historic Sears, Roebuck & Co. building.

“When I started, I had no idea what to do,” Cameron says. “I was just standing around, watching and trying to learn. Now I kind of have an idea of what to do. I’ve learned how to run conduit and how to tie in receptacles and outlets. I’ve enjoyed the different work environments and meeting a lot of different people.”

So far, so good, says one of his supervisors, Russell Scarbrough: “He’s done well. He listens and follows directions. The apprenticeship program is good for everyone involved. It gives young people like Cameron a great opportunity to learn on the job.”

One moment in Cameron’s new career sticks with him. Early on in his assignment at Ponce City Market, a co-worker took him to the roof and showed him the Atlanta skyline.

Just as that opportunity gave him a big-picture view of Georgia’s capital city, he has his eye on the long term as he works through the daily challenges of apprenticeship.

“I plan on at least finishing the five years,” he says. “By then I’ll know if this is something I’m passionate about. Right now I’m just trying to figure out this whole adult situation.”

Considering his intelligence and willingness to learn, chances are good he’ll do so.

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