Electrical Connection Salutes Students Excelling in STEM Subjects

Electrical Connection Salutes Students Excelling in STEM Subjects


The Electrical Connection continued its yearly support of STEM education at the annual STEM Celebration Breakfast presented by EDC Business & Community Partners in St. Charles County.  The March 6, 2020 event saluted 19 students in St. Charles County schools excelling in the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and math.  One of those students is considering the IBEW/NECA Electrical Industry Training Center to launch her career.  The 11th annual STEM breakfast was held at the Piazza Messina in Cottleville, Mo.  The Electrical Connection is a partnership of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1 and the St. Louis Chapter, National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).

Among the STEM Breakfast honorees was Kaelee ColliganLewis & Clark Career Center, who is considering a career as an electrician and applying to the IBEW/NECA Electrical Industry Training Center.  Her bio notes, “Kaelee excels in all aspects of the electrical trades program. She is a foreman on an actual job site where she leads a team of student electrical workers in wiring a new custom-built home. Her instructor thinks so highly of her talents that he has recommended her entry into the SkillsUSA state-wide competition of electrical students in the area of Industrial Motor Controls.”

Dennis Gralike, director of the IBEW/NECA Electrical Industry Training Center says that the technology boom of the 1990s and early 2000 launched the push to improve STEM education.  “At that time in the late 1990s, IBEW/NECA had invested in a major upgrade of the training center to train future electricians and communication technicians to meet the needs of information technology and what became the digital age,” said Gralike.  “Advanced training in renewable energy and smart infrastructure followed – all of it requiring our strong commitment to STEM education.”

IBEW and NECA invest more than $3 million annually in training at the award winning IBEW/NECA Electrical Industry Training Center at 2300 Hampton Ave. in St. Louis.  For more than 75 years, the training center has produced more highly skilled and safe electricians and communication technicians than any other education program in Missouri.  It features a five-year, 10,000 hour education program that is industry funded at no taxpayer expense.  Its apprentices are instructed free of charge and earn a living while they learn the electrical trade.

“We meet daily with civic, business, economic and workforce development leadership in Missouri to advance the state’s commitment to strengthening our skilled workforce,” said Jim Curran, executive vice president, Electrical Connection.  “Our IBEW/NECA partners can offer compelling examples of how STEM education is transforming their development of pace-setting skills.  We salute these students who will one day be setting that pace themselves, hopefully working for a St. Louis company.”

During the salute to students, Curran announced that through the Electrical Connection’s partnership with the St. Louis Cardinals, students and school officials will be treated to a special behind the scenes look at how STEM education is applied to running the storied baseball franchise.  April 16, 2020, they will be invited to Busch Stadium to hear from team officials in several departments about how they apply STEM subjects.  The learning session will be concluded by a luncheon co-sponsored by the Electrical Connection.

The St. Charles County high school students honored at this year’s STEM breakfast include:

  • Lily Burnham, Lutheran High
  • Macyn Kidd, Christian High
  • Elizabeth Kleitz, Duchesne High
  • John McLoughlin, St. Dominic High
  • Katherine Johnson, St. Charles High
  • Emma Spraul, St. Charles West High
  • Caleb Bogener, Francis Howell High
  • Christopher Bissett, Francis Howell Central High
  • Ben Ell, Francis Howell North High
  • Trent Kirks, Orchard Farm High
  • Nancy Lin, Ft. Zumwalt East High
  • Morgan James, Ft. Zumwalt North High
  • Lauren Baetje, Ft. Zumwalt West High
  • Nicolas Myers, Ft. Zumwalt South High
  • Hannah Holmes, Wentzville Holt High
  • Sarvani Kunapareddy, Wentzville Liberty High
  • Sharon Kardasz Wentzville Timberland High
  • Kaelee Colligan, Lewis & Clark Career Center
  • Anastasia Cook, Boys & Girls Club.

The STEM breakfast is one of several educational initiatives support by the Electrical Connection.  Others include partnerships with the FIRST Robotics, the Saint Louis Science CenterMissouri Energy Initiative (MEI), the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and more.

Electrical Connection members provide safe and reliable electrical construction, maintenance, repair and replacement services across Missouri, the nation and the world.  For more information visit www.electricalconnection.org.