In part one of our series on Joint Apprentice Training Centers – or JATCs – we took you to Omaha, where city and business leaders rely on the NECA-IBEW team to get their construction jobs done right the first time. Today, we bring you part two of our series. This time, we traveled to Atlanta, Georgia.
The JATC model of training electricians and linemen is the gold standard of the construction industry. This isn’t just because it turns out the best electricians or linemen – it’s because of the flexibility and superiority of each student turned out all around the United States.
In Atlanta, that model has been perfected at the Atlanta Electrical Training Center.
Jeff Giglio, Chairman, Inglett and Stubbs Electrical Contractors
“The facility was designed to accommodate as many electrical products as possible. In order to use it as a teaching tool as well as a functional space. For instance, throughout the facility we use different lighting fixtures, lighting control systems, wiring devices in to demonstrate to students the variety that’s in the marketplace.”
Jerry Hayes, President, United Electric Company
“We have the ability to target training for site specific or customer specific needs. I think it’s easier for us to pool our funds. We get a better product than if you were doing it individually. It would cost, I believe a lot more money to do that.”
This training center didn’t come cheap, however. But the NECA contractors of the Atlanta Electrical Contractors Association came up with the funds needed to get it off the ground and ensure their workforce was the best around.
Max Mount Jr., President IBEW Local 613
“All this was established through the collective bargaining process. These young men learn a trade, the employer gets a skilled, educated workforce and the local union gets good solid members. It’s a win for everyone, even the community.”
David Sokolow, Executive VP, Atlanta Electrical Contractors Association
“People don’t seek us out because we’re union contractors. People seek us out because we’re quality contractors. Our employees become better electricians because of this training center. That allows our employers to provide a better value product to their customers.”
It’s changing the perception of construction work slowly but surely in Georgia.
Chuck Little, Human Resource Director, Atlanta Electrical Contractors Association
“The culture of America says, oh construction, that’s not a very good career to go in. You’re dirty, you got a big belly, you’ve got a big neck. All those stereotypes. And when we spread the word about the educational level, and how when you go through our five year apprenticeship program, you’re going to have a stack of 5 feet tall of books with algebra, geometry, trigonometry, physical sciences. And they find out how well they’re educated, that then kind of turns them into trying to change that cultural stereotype.”
Even the Mayor of Atlanta is on board.
Kasim Reed, Mayor, Atlanta
“We like to have a diverse economic ecosystem in the city of Atlanta and the IBEW is an essential part of it. I believe that the folks of IBEW Local 613 take a back seat to no one.”
For the students – they know that they must always place an emphasis on not only acquiring the right knowledge, but also making sure that their customers are happy at the same time.
Xavier Whitehead, 5th Year Apprentice
“As an electrician, most of it is going to be confidence. When you have the proper training, when you have the experience and the skills, when you get that understanding of what it is the customer is looking for, it all boils down to your confidence.”
Phillip Brewer, 5th Year Apprentice
“And when you go out to the customer, you have to show them you can provide what you’re selling. And in order for us to survive as a union and school, we’re going to have to do the best we can to uphold that.”
Gene O’Kelley, BM, Local 613
“All we have to sell is what we do with our hands. And we’re all the time advertising on-time, on-budget, on-line. And so that’s why it’s very important to turn apprentices out of this school that are qualified to go out and do journeymen work and/or supervisor work from day one.”
The customers who hire this NECA-IBEW team in Atlanta are paying attention. And they’re ecstatic about the product they’re getting.
Rob Ragan, Vice President, New South Construction Co.
“As a general contractor, we’re only as good as the sub-contractors that work for us. And the IBEW guys – these guys have been trained, tested, they’re proven. We want to work with people who get it right the first time. And they do.”
John Barnett, President, Barnett Consulting Engineers
“I’ve always found the electricians that have come up through the training program to be of the highest quality of craftsmanship and professionalism than any that we’ve seen anywhere. And we do work across the country. It’s like you can always count on the consistency of these guys. And it doesn’t really matter where the project is – if they’ve come up through a program like this, you know what you’re going to get.”
The Atlanta JATC places such a huge emphasis on customer service. In that way, they are working hard every day to prove their value proposition in Atlanta and the surrounding area. They’re doing it the right way – with hard work.
Whether you’re in the south or anywhere else, there are 284 other electrical JATCs just like this one. And they’re ready to go to work for you.