The future is bright: Ruthie Joyce’s drive and determination lead her to a promising career as an electrician

Senior Ruthie Joyce is not afraid of hard work, so much so that unlike most of her peers she is not going to college, and will work in the trade industry. (Photo Credit: Andrea Nichols)

She watched day in and day out as her parents labored to build their family a better life. Her mom worked nights as a bartender to stay with her and her siblings during the day. When she was five, her stepfather, a carpenter familiar with the trade industry, joined their family.

Growing up, Ruthie Joyce didn’t have much. Her family survived on food stamps and hard work.  

“We were living paycheck to paycheck in an apartment with my single mother,” Joyce said. “We struggled a lot with money, but my mom would take us to parks and bike rides, and we still enjoyed ourselves with what we had.”

Eddie and Allison Abaecherli lead their kids by example, “We support our children with whatever brings them happiness,” Eddie Abaecherli said. (Photo by Dylan Eagon.)

Even with a financially rough upbringing, Joyce still enjoyed her childhood and is grateful to her parents for making the best out of a difficult situation. She learned the importance of making difficult decisions when she decided to pursue an apprenticeship -to be an electrician- at Element Electric instead of taking the traditional college route.

“My stepdad is one of the hardest working people I have ever met. He never stops working and always wants to help people,” Joyce said. “So growing up around him and my mom affected my decision.” 

Joyce likes working with her hands, but construction is not her “thing.”

“I’ve helped my dad with electrical work in my house, and I thought it was cool. I also want to be able to fix things in my own home,” Joyce said. 

Because Joyce’s biological father lives in Washington, her step-dad, Eddie Abaecherli, “became who she calls when she needs something,” He became “dad.”

Abaecherli is the president of Kuhn’s Group Inc., a company that remodels QSR restaurants like Wendy’s, McDonald’s and Starbucks. His friendship with the owner of Element Electric established the connection for Joyce’s internship. (Photo by Eddie Abaecherli.)

“She will always have the option to try other trades if [Element Electric] doesn’t work out. I have been building for over 20 years and have connections in any trade for her to try,” Abaecherli said. “Ruthie can always go to college if she decides there is something she wants to do that requires it.”

Employability teacher Dustin Goldie supports Joyce, guiding her in the right direction for her future. Goldie features hard-working students in his “Student Spotlight” videos. (Photo by Chloe Annis.)

“Ruthie has taken the path less traveled. She will begin working at that apprenticeship for about $50,000 per year. And she won’t have college debt. If she stays there for four years, she will earn close to $200-$250 thousand total,” Goldie said. 

Goldie added that the trade industry has recently been searching to hire more minority groups, such as women and people of color. 

The inside of Kuhns Group’s warehouse, where Abaecherli spends a lot of time in the Kuhns Group warehouse, where he has worked since 2006. (Photo by Eddie Abaecherli.)

“Ruthie is going to find work wherever she goes,” said Goldie, “and she’s showing that females can go into the trades and be successful.”

According to Zippia, only 4% of the people who work in trades are women, and 65.9% are white. (Photo by Arianna Maldonado.)

Joyce currently works at Carrabba’s Italian Grill. She was the manager at Dickie’s Barbeque Pit before switching. At both locations, she has and will continue to enforce her ideal work ethic to earn and save money for her future. 

“When I started working at Carrabba’s, my boss was like, ‘You’re not like a lot of people your age,’ and it’s because I work for my money and what I want,” Joyce said. (Photo by Arianna Maldonado.)

Her manager, Ashley Marlar, recognizes the value and importance of skilled tradespeople in society and Joyce’s vision for the future. 

“I’m going to college, but [I’m] not using my degree for this job at the moment,” said Marlar. “I support her not going to college because, with her hard work ethic, she can go anywhere in life.” 

Joyce packs meals and delivers them to customers’ cars. (Photos by Arianna Maldonado.)
Joyce enjoys her 6-hour shifts on weekends, at the end of the day, she ends up earning more money to save. (Photo by Arianna Maldonado.)

Joyce works to prepare herself for her future. While she does her apprenticeship, she will continue working at Carrabba’s to support herself financially, just like her parents did when she was a child. 

“I grew up around people who worked so hard, whether they had money or not. My parents don’t take things for granted,” Joyce said, “I am going to try to follow in their footsteps.”