KENNEWICK, WA - For many Veterans, transitioning back to civilian life after service can be difficult. A program in the Tri-Cities is working to ease the transition.
The Veterans Electrical Entry Program started as in-person seven-week training pre-apprenticeship. Raul Gutierrez, a Tri-Citian who grew up in the Yakima valley, is the first person in the country to go through the program online.
"Working with my hands appealed to me. That is why I decided to work with electrical trade. I decided to join IBEW, because it was the closest thing to being in the military," Gutierrez said.
Greg McMurphy with the electrical training ALLIANCE said the program reaches out to active duty service members. It allows them to attend training while they are still at duty.
Raul Gutierrez has decided to start his electrical training here in the Tri-Cities.
"It was a great honor and opportunity to have Raul come back home to his home area where he grew up," McMurphy said.
This program is an opportunity for service members, veterans their spouses to get into a registered apprenticeship.
"In particular, bringing Raul in, as the very first graduate of our computer mediated version, it was a great honor and a great opportunity," McMurphy said. "I was really glad to see him come through a location where I went through my apprenticeship."
Gutierrez graduated from Toppenish High School in 2010. He spent seven years in the army serving overseas in both South Korea and Afghanistan.
The program helped Gutierrez in the last six months of his service being able to train him for civilian life.
McMurphy helped trained Gutierrez, but also wants to wish other veterans, a Happy Veterans Day.
"On behalf of the NECA-IBEW team and the electrical training ALLIANCE, thank you to all our veterans. Thank you for your service. It hits close to home. I have a lot of family members in the service," McMurphy said.
IBEW Local 112 and NECA welcomes him in as he starts his new career in the electrical industry.