William Sagner, of Arlington, became a student in the Electricity program at Minuteman Technical Institute (MTI) in the fall of 2020. A 2018 graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Sagner worked as a business-to-business salesperson. He was laid off shortly after the pandemic took hold in the spring of 2020. Always a hands-on learner and eager to embark upon a sustainable career, William decided to become an electrician. In addition to taking night classes at MTI, William works as an electrical apprentice during the day.
Q. Why are you pursuing a career as an electrician?
I was working in sales. It was fine, and it was better than some other jobs I’ve had, but I was bored. Sitting at a desk all day was killing me. Getting laid off in the spring of 2020 made me reassess. I looked online at hundreds of job postings. There was one where 1,500 people applied for it.
Then, I reached a turning point. Here we are with the pandemic and who do I see driving around? I see plumbers, electricians, carpenters. For me, the stars aligned. From the moment I got to the Electricity program at MTI, I said, ‘Yes, this is what I want to do.’
Q. What do you enjoy most about the electrical field?
It’s that satisfaction of creating something, building something, and watching it work. I could literally do that all day. It’s the most satisfying feeling. You put in the time, you put in the work, you apply what you know to a problem, and you solve it. It’s awesome. That’s easily my favorite part about it.
Q. How is MTI helping you in your role as an electrical apprentice?
It’s helped to be able to say, ‘I know how to do that.’ When I’ve done it a few times in school, I get familiar with it, I learn all the bits and pieces. All the EMT (electrical metallic tubing) projects were really helpful. One day we had to run some metallic pipe… and my boss asked, ‘Do you know how to bend metal pipe?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, I do.’
Q. How is MTI helping you with your long-term goals?
I had thoughts about being an electrician before, but MTI has strengthened my resolve. Everyone always tells you the trades make a lot of money. I knew that, but I thought, ‘Eh, I’ve already gone to college. I’ve already gone down this path.’ But after a while, I thought, ‘forget this.’ If these people – electricians, plumbers, and auto mechanics – are out there during the pandemic still working, there’s nothing that’s going to sink that. There’s no amount of change or development that’s going to get rid of our need for power and plumbing and vehicles. MTI has been a great experience for me so far, and I’m excited to continue with the program.