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Good day. Wherever you may be and however you may be watching, thanks for tuning into this edition of Electric TV, your hub of electrical construction news, information and entertainment.

I’m your host, Dominic Giarratano.

Learning a trade – a skill – takes many years of hard work and dedication.

Today, an apprenticeship in the unionized electrical construction industry is as intensive as it is no-nonsense in its approach to a very dangerous and ever more technical profession.

With 285 training centers in nearly every corner of the country, our cameras recently travelled to Knoxville, Tennessee to give you a first-hand look at one of the best.

In order for this country’s economy to continue to grow and thrive in a competitive global environment, we need the right people, with the right skills, to do the right job.

Apprenticeship programs that employ work-based learning models, where participants earn money while they attend class, are considered by the US Department of Labor to be on the cutting edge of innovation.

That’s where the best strive to be. That’s exactly what the NECA-IBEW team is.

Through its training arm, the Electrical Alliance, in excess of 180 million dollars of their own money is invested into their own apprenticeship training system, every year. That’s money that comes from the pockets of its members and its contractors.

And this facility in Knoxville, Tennessee is just one of the hundreds that exist from coast to coast.

AJ Pearson – Training Director, Local 760 IBEW JATC

“We were used to borrowing a public school facility, and then finally we had two classrooms, and we thought we were doing good, but now we have a classroom for every class and a couple of labs and computer labs, a conference room and an instructors lounge. It’s a beautiful facility. Of course, it’s not the brick and mortar, it’s what we do inside on school nights that really counts.”

Emily Peak – IBEW Apprentice, 4th Year

“I love it. I do not dread to get up and go to work in the morning. I don’t dread to be around the guys that I work with. It’s the first time, probably ever, that I don’t dread to get up to go to work.”

AJ Pearson – Training Director, Local 760 IBEW JATC

“We learn by doing. We learn by doing through meaningful repetition, and the school affords us the opportunity to teach some things that many apprentices don’t happen to experience on the job site.”

Learning the right and wrong way to do things in this business is essential.

Much of the curriculum standards and development is nationally based, but locally implemented – and that takes both sides – labor and management – working together to that end.

AJ Pearson – Training Director, Local 760 IBEW JATC

“People on this committee, you won’t be able to tell me who’s labor and who’s management. These six people are dedicated to training people for the good of the IBEW and NECA.”

Justin Wojciechowski – IBEW Apprentice, 4th Year

“We know that our labor is going to be our highest cost, and if we’re going to do our customers any kind of justice, it’s going to be to go to a job site, whether it’s a small service call or a large construction project, and provide them with the ability that we have the most knowledgeable guys.”

Cassius Minefield – IBEW Apprentice, 3rd Year

“To me, it’s never too late to learn anything, and start over. Believe it or not, I just turned 55, and I’m probably one of the oldest apprentices in this program.”

Emily Peak – IBEW Apprentice, 4th Year

“I came here for the education. I do think it’s important. I think whenever you’re working with electricity, you cannot have enough education. You’re risking your life, you’re risking the lives of the people around you, and you’re actually risking the lives of people after you leave. So, you can’t have enough education.”

Cassius Minefield – IBEW Apprentice, 3rd Year

“It’s been instilled in us to take pride in our work, to take pride in our appearance. How we present ourselves to the customers is very important, and I think it’s important to the customers that we have that pride.”

Justin Wojciechowski – IBEW Apprentice, 4th Year

“Whether or not I’m here in Knoxville, I’m going to get the same knowledge as somebody in Nashville or Memphis, or all the way in St. Louis, out to California. It’s again the core curriculum that will ultimately separate us from people that are maybe a little bit less knowledgeable and will allow us to succeed.”

In closing, as mentioned in the beginning of this video, wherever you may be watching, rest assured there’s a NECA-IBEW electrical training center near you preparing local craftsmen and women to build your cities and towns.

That’s it for this edition of Electric TV.

Remember to follow us on Facebook and check us out on Twitter for behind the scenes extras and industry news and information.

I’m Dominic Giarratano. Thanks for the click. See you soon.