Madison Area Technical College Alumni Q & A

Andrea Southgate with Solar Panels at Madison College

Andrea Southgate

Madison Area Technical College Alumni from the Electrical Apprenticeship & Renewable Energy Program

“So much growth! So many job opportunities!” 

How did you learn about the program?

Honestly, it was the course catalogue. I was browsing options that would serve as credit hours for my apprenticeship but would also advance my personal interests.

What led you to pursue the program?

The program appealed to me in two ways. It allowed me to advance both as an electrical apprentice while pursuing a certification in a cause that is not only near and dear to my heart, but ripe with career opportunities.

What has surprised you about the program?

The faculty is STELLAR. As good or better as when I got my masters at Northwestern. No joke.

And I was surprised at how much had changed in renewable resources in the last ten years. Now it is the most economical option for energy development.

What would you tell a student that was thinking about the program?

Do it, do it, do it! So much growth. So many job opportunities. Such interesting stuff to learn. When I was starting in the electrical trade five years ago things were just taking off. Now almost every job is putting in solar panels or EV chargers or geothermal heating or all of the above. It’s a win-win. You can make money and save the planet. Yahoo!

Where do you hope the program takes you career-wise?

I like installation work and would like to help integrate Solar installation with my current electrical contractor.

Why is it important to you to become better educated in energy?

There was so much that I thought I knew about renewable energy that turned out to be totally dated. As I become better educated, I see so many possible solutions to issues I had previously found worrisome.