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NECA and the IBEW spend tens of millions of dollars annually on training. A quick trip through our archives is where you can see first-hand – the fruits of their labor where education is concerned.

Where the rubber meets the road, however, is at the 285 individual, local JATCs, or joint apprenticeship training centers, around the country.

You see, training is the lifeblood of the construction industry – and our customers deserve nothing less for their precious capital. Have a job which needs specialized skills? Live in a part of the country where you must have an expert on motor-control or building automation? Are there stringent requirements relating to OHSA safety training listed in a very important upcoming RFP?

In 2013, we’ll be bringing you a series of four videos that highlight some of these JATCs and the specialized training they offer – sometimes so precise that it’s job specific.

They’ll be geographically diverse, but they are all experts in one thing: training the best electrical workforce that money can buy. The first JATC to get our attention is in Omaha, Nebraska.

In Omaha, when city and business leaders need a project done, they rely on the NECA-IBEW team.
From TD Ameritrade Ballpark to the Hilton. From wind projects and hospitals to the University of Nebraska – Omaha. All of these projects relied on NECA and the IBEW, and NECA and the IBEW rely on the training they get from the Omaha Electrical JATC.

Ed Karnish, Training Director, Omaha JATC
“We do put out the best trained person that we can. With what’s provided by the NJATC and what we do on our own here, as far as curriculum and pipe bending and labs and hands-on and everything we do.”
The state-of-the-art training provided by the instructors at the JATC means that each job in and around Omaha has exactly the right kind of electricians, with exactly the right kinds of skills.

Gary Kelly, Business Manager, Local 22
“When I’m out in the community meeting with business leaders, community leaders, identifying their needs, we’re able to bring that back and meet with the training department and develop a plan that’s going to put together training that involves all classifications, from CW all the way up to our master journeymen.”

Jim Suttle, Mayor, Omaha, Nebraska
“We’ll make this a partnership that works, and that’s what we’ve done. And my hat is off to the IBEW and labor movement and the City of Omaha for being there to make things happen.”

Allan Hale, Executive Director, Nebraska Chapter of NECA
“The JATC is an integral part and really an interdependent part of our operation. Without a good JATC, like we have here, we can’t provide the kind of quality workmanship that our customers deserve. We can get together quickly, and we are nimble and we can move and change things and do things for the benefit of that customer.”
Apprentices and journeymen get their training at the JATC, and know that their fate is directly tied to the customer’s outcome.

Eric Stevens, 4th year apprentice, Local 22
“I think we’re a very valuable asset to contractors and to the customer as well. We’re saving them money in the long run by doing things right the first time.”

Shawn Lebrato, 1st year apprentice
“There’s so much in to the things they tell. You they explain it. It starts to become second nature but at first you are like, ‘All these rules, all these rules,’ but it starts to play out as you see things around, you see the safety. You take care of your brothers.”

Paul Chrisman, Journeyman Local 22
“I think it’s very important for the NJATC to keep up on training. For example, building automation is constantly changing.”

Each JATC is also a partnership with industry leaders, who provide tools, expertise and financial support to ensure that IBEW electricians are the best in the industry.

Kevin Wetuski, Assistant Training Director, Omaha Electrical JATC
“I think it’s very important to partner with the NJATC and to have our training partners such as Milwaukee and Klein and others to help us update the curriculum and do what we need to do to get the best trained apprentices out there for our customers and contractors.”

Rick Milota, Vice President, Nebraska Chapter of NECA
“We wouldn’t have a business without the JATC.”

Dan Smith, President, Electric Company of Omaha
“We have actually brought customers and engineering firms to this training center. Showed them where our program is, took them through our training lab. They were very impressed. To the point where they actually, four of the engineering firms in town have written the NJATC training into their specifications.”

Dan Johnson, Construction Manager, CSM Group
“The IBEW training system has been a phenomenal success at our site, at Kellogg’s. We can trust them to go into the field, make the observations they need to, work around the problems in the field such as other trades working in the field or in close proximity and implementing the right strategy from an overall scope of work on a project. I cannot speak highly enough of how valuable this tool is, and the training that they’ve received has been.”

The Omaha Electrical JATC, just like all other JATCs, doesn’t only offer instruction for apprentices. Continuing education is a big part of a journeyman or foreman’s job – and each JATC offers those courses as well, ensuring that building owners, contractors and developers here get the best workforce that money can buy with the NECA-IBEW team.

That’s it for this edition of Electric TV. Thanks for the click. We’ll be back very soon with another edition, including a trip to Atlanta where the JATC there is high-voltage, literally.