From Apprentice to 1st Class Electrician

:: Tuesday, October 10, 2023 :: Posted By Jen Brown

We are proud to highlight Elizabeth (Liz) Stone, a graduate of this year’s California Borates Instrumentation Electronics (IE) apprentice program. Liz recently became a 1st class electrician and was even more proud to achieve this success as the only women in her class. This 4-year intense immersive program is covering both instrumentation and electrical in a class setting and out in the field in practice.

We caught up with Liz to discuss a bit of her experience within the IE program and provide some advice to anyone thinking about joining the IE program. If you see Liz out in the field, be sure to congratulate her!

Q: How would you describe your experience?

A: In summary, one of the longest yet shortest 4 years of my life. One minute I saw the four years as a long road, the next I was a couple of months away from completing the program, and now I am a 1st class electrician, and it is still surreal to me. It makes it easier that everyone here is very welcoming, supportive, and always looking out for each other.

Q: What would you consider to be your next challenge now as a 1st Class Electrician?

A: Building the leadership skills to be a guide to the apprentices I am now working with. Getting into the mentality that I am now in charge and making sure that the helpers I work with feel supported I believe is going to be my next challenge.

Q: What do you consider the best part of working in Instrumentation Electrical (IE)?

A: There is always something new to learn. I can come in one day and learn something and come in the next and learn something completely new. There is not a day that goes by where I do not learn something. It does not end in the classroom, being in the field every day brings something new.

Q: What would be your advice to anyone considering entering the program?

A: I would say if you set your mind to it, go for it! I had zero electrical experience or knowledge, I came from working in a kitchen as a cook my foot in the door here at Rio was a janitorial opportunity and when the program opened up, I knew I had to go for it, so I gave it my best and here I am 4 years later setting an example for my daughters. It is also a great feeling to see more women joining the program and going for it.

Liz Stone in front of the instrumentation electrical sign at Boron operations in California




U.S. Borax, part of Rio Tinto, is a global leader in the supply and science of borates—naturally-occurring minerals containing boron and other elements. We are 1,000 people serving 650 customers with more than 1,800 delivery locations globally. We supply around 30% of the world’s need for refined borates from our world-class mine in Boron, California, about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles.  Learn more about Rio Tinto.

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