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Wind turbines are spinning all across the country, from New York State to California, from North Dakota to Texas, and everywhere in between. Here’s one major consideration when deciding to invest in a wind turbine, or a wind farm: How do you know it’s not going to break down in six months, stripping your investment with costly repairs?

The only way to make sure is by hiring construction professionals to do the work. The NECA-IBEW team is not just reading about turbines in a book. They’re climbing a tower, they’re using the tools, and they’re getting a leg up on the competition.

The leadership of this country is pushing for green energy. It’s everywhere you look: solar farms, building controls, and CFLs. But perhaps nothing personifies green energy like wind farms. They’re big, and they’re engraved in our collective consciousness. Some parts of the country have more wind power than others. Some are better suited than others. The NECA-IBEW team in Nebraska isn’t sitting around waiting for the work to come in. They’re making sure that when this work hits their state, they’ll be ready.

The way? A new wind turbine training curriculum, featuring a training silo designed to simulate the working conditions of a win turbine for IBWE electricians. And they got it through receiving a competitive grant from the State of Nebraska.

Clint Burge, Business Manager, Local 265
“It’s called a worker training grant here in Nebraska. So we submitted all the paper work and were able to receive the grant. It was $106,000 and that gave us the funding to put up the trainer. We also plan on training a lot of our members out Lincoln, as well as Omaha, Sioux City, and the line local as well.”

Roy Lamb, Training Director, Local 265
“The amount of work that this potentially could create is millions of man-hours, billions of dollars of work. So it’s an exciting time.”

The only way that this could come about is through a partnership. It’s too much to tackle for just one Local, or just one NECA chapter. So Locals from all over Nebraska and Iowa, as well as the Omaha chapter of NECA, took on this challenge jointly. For these electricians, it’s about showing up job-ready to work on day one, and reducing the learning curve on the job site. This facility gives them a leg up, and means jobs done by NECA and the IBEW team can hit the ground running, saving owners and contractors time and money.

Gary Kelly, Business Manager, Local 22
“We know the value of the training and minimizing the learning curve, and getting the electricians familiar with their safety equipment, getting to where they trust their safety equipment. There are great benefits to make them competitive on day one out in the field when they get there.”

Wind power has huge potential for Nebraska, but this state has its own challenges and difficulties. Problems that the NECA-IBEW team is addressing with the help of contractors and owners.

Clint Burge, Business Manager, Local 265
“Probably our biggest challenge is that it’s a public power state, which is different than other states that are developing their wind. The power companies don’t get those rebates, where a private developer would.”

The NECA-IBEW team is ready to do it right now on these projects thanks to their foresight on wind energy. When you take the best-trained workforce and the most dedicated contractors, and combine the tow, what you have in unparalleled value to owners and municipalities.

Ed Karnish, Training Director, Local 22 JATC
“Our apprentices and journeymen leave this training center after they’ve went through their continuing education. They’ve come a step closer to keeping our customers happy. And I think that’s what’s important, because our bottom line is our customer.”

Dan Smith, President, Electric Company of Omaha
“I think a big value to our customer comes from our workforce in the field. The people employed by the Electric Company of Omaha, they are our best salespeople.”

Brian Sullivan, Executive Director, Omaha Chapter NECA
“What the union represents is quality and workmanship. We have the best program in the world and we say we’re the best because we are. We have a five-year training program that is second to none.”

That’s just one more instance of NECA and the IBEW coming together to provide value for customers.

James Kavanaugh, Business Agent, Local 231
“We’re not two, we’re one. And I think that’s the big plus, and I think that’s what we need to sell.”

Ed Karnish, Training Director, Local 22 JATC
The non-union, they try to train their people. We do drain our people.”

We train right. And that means we do it right. From the ground, all the way up into the sky.

Electricians from across the country are requesting to be a part of the training course offered by Local 22 and its partners at NECA. They’re accommodating as many s they can. Now as we heard in the piece, we don’t waste and time or go through any on-the-job training. We can’t afford to do it. And you certainly can’t afford to pay us to do it. This is a value proposition. The NECA-IBEW team is scary good, and they’re working their tails off to get what they need to do, done. There’s no other training facility like this in all of Nebraska, and there are only two others in the entire country, both of which are owned by NECA and the IBEW.