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A Power-full Teacher

Don Reaves is teaching the Basics of Electricity course at the George Henry White Center; but he has done much more.

This Wilmington native moved to Columbus County five years ago. A military veteran, he began his career in Marine Electricity, and then transitioned to commercial, industrial and residential electrical work--a total of 35 years as a licensed electrician in North Carolina. He is also licensed in several other states. He retired from 22 years with Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, where he installed generators among other projects related to electrical work.

He has been teaching a class of 7 students the basics of wiring and electrical science at the center, with twice weekly classes spread over a 19-week period. His students are now getting ready for their final exam--a hands-on demonstration of skills as well as a test of knowledge gained.

"They did cover some aspects of Codes, but no way as extensively as what they will learn in the later pre-licensure class, which they can take after completing the required work experience as an apprentice," explained Mr. Reaves.

In addition to helping people learn and understand the basic principles of electricity, Mr. Reaves voluntarily worked on the installation of new wiring in the attic space, in order to prepare for a media studio to be built in that space. He ran four circuits, for lights, receptacles and an HVAC unit, to be operational in the large space.

"Mr. Reaves contributed his professional expertise and labor at no cost to the center," explained superintendent Ocie Jones. "He went beyond the very valuable work of teaching the theory and application of electrical wiring for people to have great careers. He helped construct a facility that will also teach people media skills and enable us to share other classes going on in the center."

Of the seven students, four are completing the full testing and exam requirements. This sets them up for employment and puts them on a path of skilled tradesmanship, which is highly sought within the growing construction industry, and which can lead to independent company ownership as well.

"In addition to the basic and advanced courses in electrical contracting," said project leader Vince Spaulding, "The GHW Center has held classes in healthy food and fitness, landowner education, computer and networking skills, mental and emotional health and soon, in business development. We are committed to helping all people develop in knowledge and capabilities, to have better lives."

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