When Kaari and Ryan Murphy met, they had a lot in common. As veterans of the armed forces, both had the drive and desire to gain new skills while developing their civilian careers. The two began dating during the second year of their apprenticeships at the APS Palo Verde Generating Station, the nation’s largest power manufacturer.
The Arizona Department of Economic Security oversees Arizona’s registered apprenticeship programs and assists employers in designing and implementing apprenticeships that fit their business needs. The APS registered apprenticeship program is one of the many programs monitored by the DES Apprenticeship Office.
Many job seekers discover apprenticeship programs after feeling a disconnect between college classes and their dream job. “I also went college and it wasn’t a good fit,” said Kaari. “Going back with intent was much more effective for me. Apprenticeships are a great option for people who want to establish a life-long career.”
Apprenticeships are continuously gaining popularity among students of all ages who have a clear career path and want to avoid high student debts. Apprenticeships combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction and generally take 2-4 years to complete. Upon completion of an apprenticeship program, most apprentices leave with little to no student debt, a nationally recognized certification in their field, and earn an average annual salary of $60,000.
Kaari and Ryan agree that this career path was ideal for them. “I think a lot of people in my generation got caught up in the college path and forgot about trades as an option,” explained Ryan. “When you’re sitting in a fine arts class that has nothing to do with your degree, it seems like a waste of time and money, as opposed to a class that actually pertains to the job that you’ll be doing.”
Upon completion of their programs, Kaari and Ryan were the first married couple to be recognized as the 2018 Outstanding Apprentices of the Year. The couple says that apprenticeships help set their growing family up for sustainable financial and employment success.
The couple welcomed their first baby just before their apprenticeships ended. Today, both are continuing in their career fields at Palo Verde. Kaari is working as a Refrigeration Mechanic Journeyman and Ryan is a Protective Relay and Control Technician. The couple is now expecting twins.
To learn more about the Arizona Apprenticeship Program, please visit www.AZApprenticeship.com.
By Jillian Seamans