IBEW/NECA Electrical Industry Training Center boasts a 90-percent graduation rate, students earn while they learn
By SHERI GASSAWAY
IBEW Local 1 is offering local high school students a fresh new look at exciting careers in the electrical construction industry and the union’s free higher education program, which allows students to earn while they learn.
Union representatives are enlightening students about the growing fields in the electrical and communications industry and higher education opportunities available through the IBEW/NECA Electrical Industry Training Center. The training is free and offers students the opportunity to earn a living with benefits in a profession that is in high demand.
That new approach began last month when IBEW Local 1 Business Representative Chuck DeMoulin was invited to be a guest speaker at a “College and Careers” class at Herculaneum High School in Herculaneum, MO.
STATE’S OLDEST, MOST SUCCESSFUL HIGHER EDUCATION PROGRAM
“We understand and appreciate the attraction of a college education,” DeMoulin said. “But we offer the state’s oldest and most successful higher education program, serving the nation’s growing need for skilled and safe electricians and communication technicians.
“Our students immediately embark on a high-tech career with limitless possibilities. Our graduates earn a great living, and many go on to become not only electricians and communication technicians, but engineers, project managers and entrepreneurs operating their own union electrical contracting business.”
QUALITY TRAINING IN RAPIDLY EVOLVING FIELD
The industry-funded training center is located at 2300 Hampton Ave. in St. Louis and offers 10,000 hours and five years of instruction, including training in the field where students are paid with benefits.
Students are engaged in the full breadth of the rapidly evolving electrical and communications industry. The more than 70-course curriculum uses advanced technology, including a rooftop solar array, and courses on Building Information Modeling (BIM) and next generation electrical/communication installations.
MISSOURI’S FUTURE DEPENDENT ON SKILLED WORKFORCE
“It’s well documented that Missouri’s economic future is heavily dependent on a skilled workforce,” DeMoulin said. “So, we have consistently invested in our apprenticeship education to build dynamic careers in an industry that is changing our world.
“The digital age, smart cities, smart infrastructure, advanced manufacturing, traditional and renewable forms of energy all ultimately require a highly skilled and safe electrician or communication technician to build.”
DeMoulin notes that IBEW’s investment in promoting construction careers includes a partnership with the St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) called the Electrical Connection.
THE ELECTRICAL CONNECTION
The Electrical Connection has become an important resource to Missouri economic and workforce development organizations. Representatives serve on the Missouri Governor’s Workforce Development Task Force, the “Talent for Tomorrow” program and the “Best in the Midwest” economic development strategic planning initiative.
“With our NECA partners, we’ve been investing in developing pacesetting skills and safety for more than 75 years, and today it’s a $3 million annual investment,” said IBEW Local 1 Business Manager Frank Jacobs. “We even have an education partnership with St. Louis Community College that offers courses to attain a college degree.”
90% GRADUATION RATE
“Our advice to anyone interested in our training program is focus on STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and math – because qualified applicants to our program are in high demand,” said Doug Martin, executive vice president, St. Louis NECA.
“That’s why IBEW/NECA makes a significant investment in STEM education, including partnerships with the Saint Louis Science Center and other organizations striving to help develop the skilled workforce needed to attract more businesses to Missouri.”
INTERESTED? HERE’S WHERE TO LEARN MORE
For more information on the IBEW/NECA Electrical Training Center or to schedule an IBEW Local 1 representative to speak to high school students, call 314-644-3587 or visit stlejatc.org.
To learn more about how IBEW and NECA advance career development in the electrical industry through its Electrical Connection partnership, visit electricalconnection.org.