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Aug. 27 - Gilmer Lands Dream Job at Thiele after Apprenticeship

Dublin Business Journal Staff Report

August 27, 2017 - When Boone Gilmer decided to take Electrical Control classes while still in high school he never dreamed it would land him a paid internship and his dream job at Thiele Kaolin Company in Sandersville.

At the beginning of his senior year of high school, Gilmer, a Glascock County native, decided to enroll in Oconee Fall Line Technical College’s (OFTC) Electrical Controls Technology Program after learning about the dual-enrollment options from a college representative who visited Glascock County High School.

“I always knew I wanted to work in maintenance so when they brought up the electrical control systems I knew that was something that could really benefit me and help me graduate from college earlier, which I did,” Gilmer shared.

Once Gilmer began taking classes he knew he made the right decision.  Just a few months into the program, OFTC Electrical Controls instructor Mark Stewart informed eligible students of an apprenticeship opportunity at Thiele Kaolin and assisted in scheduling interviews. “I was fortunate enough to get an opportunity to put in for the apprenticeship job,” Gilmer said. “I went through an interview in October of 2015 and started working in early November.”

Gilmer started out in mechanical maintenance for several months, working 40 hours every other week and then moved into electrical maintenance for his last few months of the apprenticeship.

“As an apprentice, I was with a mechanic when I was in mechanical maintenance and an electrician when I was in

electrical maintenance every day watching and learning and helping in any way I could,” Gilmer said.

And even though he hadn’t been in OFTC’s program very long when he started the apprenticeship, Gilmer said he was able to pick up skills and knowledge from his classes that helped him at work: “I feel my OFTC classes gave me a head start and the basic knowledge I needed in my apprenticeship,” he shared.

The apprenticeship lasted until Gilmer graduated from OFTC’s Electrical Control Program in May of 2017. And while attending school and working wasn’t always easy, Gilmer appreciated the flexibility he received from his OFTC instructors.

“I really liked how flexible my school schedule could be around work and how willing my instructor was to work with me on that,” he said.

After graduation, an electrical maintenance position opened up at Thiele Kaolin and Gilmer landed the job. “I always

knew I wanted to work in the maintenance department at Thiele and I was extremely fortunate to be offered the job,” Gilmer said.

“I honestly feel like OFTC is the reason I have my job,” he added. “One of my fears in choosing maintenance was whether or not I would be able to get the experience I needed to get the job I was looking for and I’m extremely thankful that OFTC took care of that for me.”

For more information about OFTC’s Electrical Controls Program, visit OFTC.edu.

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