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Arkansas teen took up grandfather’s offer to get training at VC

Samuel Perryman is currently a student in Victoria College’s Electrical Level 3 class.

It was an offer Samuel Perryman could not refuse.

With $500 to his name, a tank of gas and a suitcase of clothes, Perryman left Bryant, Ark., the day after graduating from high school to go work at his grandfather’s farm in Calhoun County and try to figure out what he wanted to do with his life.

Robert McPherson offered to pay for his 18-year-old grandson to receive training in an industrial trade class at Victoria College while helping out at the farm.

“He asked me if I would come down here and help him, and I did,” Perryman said. “I knew I had to go to school for something. I was wanting to do welding at first, but then I chose electrical. About the only thing I knew about electrical was how to screw in a lightbulb.”

In June 2019, Perryman successfully completed Victoria College’s Core Curriculum: Introductory Craft Skills class, which is required by the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) before students can begin specific industrial trades training.

“My grandpa paid for that first class, and I paid him back,” Perryman said.

Perryman completed VC’s Electrical Level 1 and 2 classes and is currently nearing completion of the Level 3 course.

“It’s been a good learning experience,” Perryman said. “It’s getting me ready for what I want to do, plus you can’t beat an NCCER certification in electrical.”

Perryman will take the Level 4 electrical class this fall. Upon completion, he plans on moving back to Arkansas.

“I have a couple of jobs lined up back home,” Perryman said. “Plus, I want to get back up there to be with my friends and family.”

Perryman admitted he didn’t know if taking up his grandfather’s offer was a good idea initially.

“I’m proud of what I have accomplished, and my grandpa is proud of me,” Perryman said. “It’s worked out for me. I was skeptical about it at first, because $500 doesn’t get you very far.”

Victoria College offers a number of job training courses that lead to NCCER certification and in-demand jobs, including electrical; heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC); millwright; pipefitting; plumbing; power line worker; and welding. These courses take 12 to 16 weeks to complete per level, with three to five levels offered in each area. A high school diploma is not required to enroll in any of these courses except for power line worker. Financial aid and scholarships are available.

For more information on Victoria College’s job training courses leading to careers in the industrial trades, call (361) 582-2528 or email AskCE@VictoriaCollege.edu.