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Congregation's new Firefly program: Teaching teen girls the fundamentals of electrical work

Episcopal-affiliated Girls' Friendly Society California has granted $20,000 to St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Hollywood to fund the Firefly program. The program aims to teach girls aged 14 to 17 the fundamentals of electrical work, providing them with skills and opportunities for future careers. The program will address different topics every month and will include field trips and guest speakers. Enrollment is open, and scholarships are available.

Valeria Lucas, a graduate of high school in 2013, decided to explore her interest in electrical work by taking courses at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College. In a class dominated by men, Lucas initially felt intimidated but eventually became more comfortable in the male-dominated environment. Her father, Alberto Lucas, who is an electrician, had been wanting to teach younger individuals about electrical work at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Hollywood, California. Thanks to a $20,000 grant from Girls' Friendly Society California, an organization affiliated with the Episcopal Church, Alberto Lucas can now fulfill his desire to teach.

St. Stephen's is utilizing the grant to launch the Firefly program, a hands-on program that will teach girls aged 14 to 17 the fundamentals of electrical work. The program will take place one Saturday a month for the next two years, with enrollment still open. Alberto Lucas, a long-time parishioner of St. Stephen's, will be the lead instructor, while Valeria Lucas, who works as a teacher at the church's preschool, will serve as the program's co-coordinator and interpreter for her father.

The Firefly program aims to equip girls with the necessary skills and knowledge in electrical work. Each month, the program will cover different topics, including electricity fundamentals, wiring methods, emergency power equipment, lighting types, and safety. The goal is to provide the girls with the physical tools and confidence to work in a male-dominated field. By starting at a young age, the program hopes to prepare the girls to pursue a full-time electrical apprenticeship when they turn 18, the minimum age to qualify for an apprenticeship in California. Even if they choose not to pursue a career in electrical work, the skills acquired through the Firefly program can benefit them in other fields, such as electrical engineering. Completion of the program also provides credentials for college and job applications due to the mathematical and disciplined nature of electrical work.

The mean annual pay for electricians in California was $78,140 in 2022, making it an appealing career choice for many. California has the highest employment level for electricians in the United States, with Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim being the second-highest metropolitan area for electrician employment. The demand for electricians is growing in California, particularly in the Hollywood area, due to factors such as the increase in solar panel installations and the preparations for the 2028 Summer Olympics. The Firefly program aims to create a pipeline for girls to continue their education and pursue opportunities in the electrical industry.

Thanks to the grant from Girls' Friendly Society California, the Firefly program will also include occasional field trips to local places where participants can gain hands-on experience and learn more about electrical work. Guest speakers from the electrical industry will also be invited to share their insights. The program is currently accepting applications, with a cost of $50 for two years. Scholarships are available, and St. Stephen's will provide safety equipment. Participation in the program does not require being a parishioner of St. Stephen's.

In conclusion, the Firefly program seeks to empower girls by providing them with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the electrical industry. Through hands-on learning and mentorship, the program aims to bridge the gender gap in a male-dominated field and prepare girls for future opportunities. With the support of Girls' Friendly Society California, St. Stephen's Episcopal Church is making a significant impact on the lives of young girls interested in pursuing a career in electrical work.

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