Apprentice Profile: Matthew McMahon
Career changes can be terrifying, especially after being in the same industry for 20 years. Matthew McMahon, a fourth-year apprentice at Phoenix Electrical JATC’s Inside Wireman Apprenticeship program at IBEW 640, took a leap of faith that not only made a positive impact on his career, but also for his family.
When Matthew was switching careers he knew two things for certain: he wanted a job that would put his hands to work and a job that would not follow him home. For many, making the decision to become a union apprentice can be influenced by family. In Matthew’s case, having a brother who had been part of IBEW Local Union 11 since 2008 painted a picture of the future he and his family could have.
“I saw what the union did for him, and he’s done really well for himself,” Matthew said. “He actually owns his own shop now.”
Matthew’s family is his priority. That’s why when Matthew joined IBEW Local 640 he immediately noticed the comradery and sense of family among his union brothers and sisters. During the day, Matthew is able to practice skills he is learning from the JATC program alongside other apprentices and journeymen on projects like the Veteran Affairs Clinic and other commercial developments.
This past year, Matthew participated in a variety of apprenticeship skills tests and was selected by his supervisors to compete in the Apprentice of the Year competition in Beaumont, Texas. Matthew faced off against 13 other fourth-year apprentices for the chance to win an award that recognizes their accomplishments. Matthew may have not won the competition, but the honor of being selected to represent Local 640 and getting to meet other talented apprentices was invaluable to him.
“These guys really are my brothers,” Matthew proudly states.
The brotherhood, the job opportunities, and the excellent health benefits are not the only reasons that Matthew loves being a part of a union. Being a part of IBEW Local 640 also allows him to plan for his future.
“I’m making pension credits as I go,” said Matthew. “It’s not affecting me yet, but in 30 years it will make a difference when it’s time to retire.”
Matthew graduates from the apprenticeship program this year, and when asked if he had any advice for anyone that was trying to make up their mind on whether or not to join an apprenticeship program, he said, “Dive in, do it as soon as you can. I wish I would’ve done this right out of high school.”