A team of Sturgeon Electric electricians recently provided hands-on training and mentorship to T.A.C.T. students while completing industrial fan installations at Colorado State University College of Agricultural Sciences Temple Grandin Equine Center at the National Western Complex.
Based in Denver, Colorado, T.A.C.T. stands for Teaching the Autistic Community Trades and is the first and only trade program in the entire country developed for those living with autism. According to AutismSociety.org, more than 3.5 million Americans live with Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD, and 25% of young adults with autism have not had a job or received post-graduate education after leaving high school. In total, the autism community has the highest rate of unemployment, estimated at 90 percent.
T.A.C.T. aims to reduce these statistics. Acknowledging that many autistic individuals are strong visual learners and problem-solvers, trade occupations are a great fit, and T.A.C.T. currently has an 86 percent job placement rate. Skilled trades are in great demand. According to careerprofiles.info, over 60 percent of electricians are over the age of 45, and 62 percent of firms are struggling to fill important skilled trade positions. Sturgeon Electric regularly promotes the benefits and career opportunities associated with trade occupations to high school students and young adults, therefore this opportunity was a perfect fit.
The installation project was a great success. Sturgeon Electric Regional Vice President Joe Badaracco was instrumental in helping it come together. He oversaw every aspect, from developing the technical drawings to ordering the materials, coordinating schedules and enlisting volunteers. “We were thrilled to be part of this project, he said. “Not only did we help the Center meet an important need, we were able to give these students ‘a day in the life’ experience and demonstrate what the future could hold in the electrical field.”
“The students were so helpful and interested in what we were doing. I was so impressed with their work and the questions they brought to the table,” said Sturgeon Electric Journeyman, Travis Garman.
“We are so grateful to Sturgeon Electric for recognizing the amazing talent and strengths of our students. It’s through partners like them that we start tackling the 90% unemployment rate of the autism community. We had a fantastic time contributing to CSU’s Temple Grandin Equine Center and were privileged to open doors for our students. We look forward to doing more together!”
T.A.C.T. Founder, Danny Combs
Most importantly, T.A.C.T. students were able to demonstrate their unique talents and abilities while gaining valuable hands-on experience and learning from the best in the business. Here’s what they had to say:
“It was a fun learning experience in which I learned about safety and electrical work. I also learned, just safety in general. I also got to learn how to use cool equipment.”
T.A.C.T. Student, Gabrielle
“ I had fun communicating and learning new things. We got to use special gear that made us feel like we were actually working there.”
T.A.C.T. Student, Tyler
“ I had a blast working with the team at the equine center installing ceiling fans. I got to work with cool people and pet horses at the end.”
T.A.C.T. Student, Seamus
“I thought it was a spectacular to see the inner workings of electrical wiring – like the five copper wires inside the electrical conduit. Working with Sturgeon Electric helped me to experience many new things like working up a scissor lift and installing electrical conduit clamps. If it was not for them, I would not have been able to see the older wiring in that building and help to update it with new ceiling fans.”
T.A.C.T. Student, Scoop
Special thanks go to Debbie Mogor and Adam Daurio of the CSU Temple Grandin Equine Center, T.A.C.T. Founder Danny Combs, the wonderful T.A.C.T. students who helped with the project, and the Sturgeon Electric team of Vice President Joe Badaracco, Area Superintendent Jason Prinz, Manpower Coordinator Dan Hart, Journeyman Travis Garman, Service General Foreman Greg Carrillo, Construction Electrician Ross Milan, General Foreman Jason Rath, and Apprentice Dimitri Floryance.
About the Colorado State University Temple Grandin Equine Center – Colorado State University, a leader in equine science and occupational therapy research, has two equine center facilities, one located in Fort Collins and one in Denver. Both are dedicated to equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAAT), and research. Both centers are named after Temple Grandin, a CSU professor and world-renowned expert in humane animal handling and autism research. Visit https://tgec.agsci.colostate.edu/