Congrats to the newest winners of IBEW 1245’s Jairus Ayeta Line School Scholarship, Frank Stearns and Francisco Gonzalez.
Frank Stearns hails from Nevada and currently works in the construction field. In his scholarship essay, Stearns explained what drew him to the field of linework.
The electric utility industry has been a primary driver of progress in our world. It is responsible for the increased productivity of labor and capital, and for the continuous growth in prosperity, health, and quality of life. I want to be a part of that progress and join an industry that provides so much to our daily lives. For me, this career offers job opportunities wherever I decide to live, financial freedom to enjoy my life as well as provide for myself and family and will give me a sense of pride in the work I do; knowing many will benefit from my skills and labors. I know I will eventually become the first lineman in my family, but this generous scholarship will allow me to reach that goal much sooner.
“I’ve been excited ever since I received the phone call awarding me the scholarship. I am grateful for this opportunity to finally begin a career I’ve been interested in for so long,” said Stearns. “I hope to gain the knowledge and skills required of the trade and leave with the confidence to secure an apprenticeship. I want to make the 1245 proud and make the most of this experience.”
Francisco Gonzalez is a lifelong resident of Stockton, and is working for a construction company there. His scholarship essay focused on the hard fights that utility workers have undertaken over several generations to improve their lives and livelihoods.
Many line workers made sacrifices … property was damaged, people got injured and died. Taking these drastic actions got electric companies to the bargaining table with unions that represented the line workers. Because of these men and women that fought back against companies, workers today enjoy good benefits, wages, and safe working environments. Having the courage to stand up and form a union showed the nation that people in numbers can make a change to better the workplace.
“This scholarship is not just a career change, it’s a whole-lifetime changing event for me,” Gonzalez said after finding out he had won the scholarship. “Becoming a lineman is a dream that I thought it was out of my reach because of the cost of the school. I am excited and will be honored to represent Local 1245 at Volta.”
Stearns and Gonzalez will begin Volta Line School in Oregon on Sept. 27, with all expenses paid for by IBEW 1245, and will complete the program in early December. The union’s goal is to have them working for 1245-represented employers shortly thereafter.
Established in 2020, the Jairus Ayeta scholarship is named in honor of an IBEW 1245 apprentice who was the victim of a fatal workplace tragedy on August 4, 2018 while restoring power at the Carr Fire outside Redding, California.