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Working for a Living: 3 Young Adults Share Their Career Success Stories

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Mark Benson Jr.

When Mark Benson answers his phone to talk about how his career is progressing, he is between service calls around Newark, where he is a customer service foreman with Nickle Electrical Companies.

Mark Benson

To the Paul M. Hodgson Vocational Technical High School graduate, the work comes naturally. “Both my brother and dad are electricians, so the profession sort of fell into my lap. Even when I was a teenager, I worked odd jobs at Nickle around the shop.”

Even so, Benson reminds younger people that, while rewarding and stable, being in an apprenticeship program is hard work—8,000 hours of on-the-job work combined with 144 hours of classwork spread over several years.

“It can be stressful at times,” he says. “After a hot, tiring day on the job, you have to change and go right back out to school from around 6 to 8. My classes were at Delcastle [Technical High School], and they were helpful in learning more about how to do my job. It involved a lot of study and testing.”

But now his apprenticeship is completed, and Benson has five years of work experience with Nickle under his belt, spending his days on service calls for homeowners who either have electrical problems or want to add capabilities to their homes. And so, he says, his learning process continues.

“I would eventually like to have my master electrician license,” he says, “which would broaden my opportunities.”

Even though being an apprentice might have fallen into his lap, Benson has placed doing the hard work necessary for his career advancement squarely on his own shoulders.*

Want to read more success stories? Check out the 2023/24 edition of Careers & STUFF, publishing September 19

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