Redwood Empire electrical apprentice center to expand

SANTA ROSA -- A training center for North Coast apprentice electricians is getting a major upgrade as the skills needs grow to work on increasingly advanced automation, alternative-energy and energy-efficiency systems.

[caption id="attachment_69069" align="alignright" width="360"] A lab training board on advanced lighting controls[/caption]

Redwood Empire Electrical Training Trust purchased a 28,000-square-foot, two-building former plastic injection molding and electronics manufacturing facility adjacent to the current decades-old training center on Corby Avenue in southwest Santa Rosa for $1.19 million on Dec. 31.

Redwood Empire Joint Apprenticeship & Training Center (707-523-3837, plans to occupy the 16,600-square-foot, two-story building at 1726 Corby, perhaps as soon as the early September for the start of fall semester classes, according to Steve Stobel, training director.

That's almost three times as much space as in than the current single-floor center, which has three classrooms, a computer lab and several labs with practice circuits and controls. The new building would have classrooms above the labs. A major benefit will be being able to have larger hands-on practice labs that don't have to be dismantled to make room for the next lesson, Mr. Stobel said.

[caption id="attachment_69070" align="alignleft" width="400"] Ryan Modell (left) and Tim Bowser work on a three-phase transformer trainer in the lab.[/caption]

"Now, if a student is in one of the three-sided [lab] booths, there is no room for an instructor to be inside to explain something," he said. "We're hoping we can double the size of the booths and simulate a wall they'd be working on in the field, versus a 3-foot-by-3-foot workstation."

Plans for the 11,000-square-foot front building at 1724 Corby are still developing, according to Mr. Stobel.

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