The non traditional path for Adam Lewis

Adam Lewis has gone where most students don’t want to go.


Adam Lewis takes a break while on the “job site.”

Adam Lewis, a senior, has his life figured out. He’s had his figured out for about a year and a half now. Jake Nelson of Arrowhead Electric has taken Adam in under their apprentice program as an electrician.

“I know that the way our society is headed is a lot of people are going to get in debt and their not going to be able to pay it off because what they went to college for, there is no demand for it. You look at how many people don’t wanna do this job but you learn so much and you get paid well.”

Adam’s look on society moving forward in the near future isn’t far off of most statistics. According to Phil Crone, the executive officer of the National Builders Association, the average age of a carpenter is 49, welder 55, plumber 56 and stonemason 69. In the next five years, 20 percent of the laborers will retire, leaving a huge void of wanted tradesmen.

Adam worked for remodeling crew owned by his current boss, Jake Nelson, about a year and a half ago. Work grew thin, and Jake invited him to start an apprenticeship with the company. After completing state paperwork, he got to work with Jake.

“I love doing electrical stuff. There’s is a big essence of problem solving and critical thinking. Definitely applications everyday of math, physics, Ohm’s law. You get to see the countryside. Many people sit in an office all day, but this county, and the counties around it, that’s my office. We literally go in the mountains sometimes just to do 30 minutes worth of work, but it’s so worth it because it’s so gorgeous.”

Adam travels around the immediate area of Montana working on different job sites. This summer, Adam worked on a 15,000 square foot house in the Bridgers, learning a lot about the lack of cooperation between designers and electricians. Other locations Adam worked at this summer include Big Sky, the new photo studio next door to the Sport on Maine street and other service calls in town.

“I definitely want to get this under my belt. I love doing what I do right now. If i decide I don’t want to do this down the line, that’s alright. I can make the money I need, or get the license, then I always have that under my belt, it’s a fall back. I can go to college if I want.”

Although content with the apprenticeship and his current career path, Adam wouldn’t be opposed to changing things up, but with the way things are headed, a trade job will surely be in high demand.

Adam has chosen a different path out of high school, but nonetheless just as promising than attending a four year college. With a guaranteed job that provides experience and knowledge, trade job apprenticeships may become a more popular option for students coming out of high school, and the nation may just see an influx of more young adolescents similar to Adam Lewis.