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Hello, and welcome to another edition of Electric TV, powered by the NECA-IBEW team – the source for online video news and entertainment focusing on the electrical construction industry in America. I’m your host, Dominic Giarratano.

Alabama is known for many things. Football for one, but it’s also worth mentioning that first rocket to put humans on the moon was built at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Hunstville.

Less than 100 miles from Huntsville, perhaps flying a bit lower than outer space, is the North Alabama JATC, the state’s premiere training center for the best electricians on this planet.

Ralph Mayes, Business Manager & Financial Secretary, IBEW Local 558
“We mostly have a large industrial field of wiremen. We do commercial work, but the biggest part would be industrial work.”

Charles Crow, Owner, Garnet Electric Company
“I’d say 80% of our business is industrial. Substation, water treatment plants, automobile plants, chemical plants. We expect a guy to be able to do anything from terminate a fiber-optic cable to terminate a 15KV, million voltage cable, in the same day.”

Ron Weaver, Training Director, North Alabama JATC
“The industrial customer really requires that you have a lot more certifications other than just, ‘Hey I’ve been trained by the IBEW in the 5-year apprenticeship program.’

“Upstairs we’ve got 25,000 square feet of classroom space. We’ve got 9,000 square feet of hands-on hands evaluation labs downstairs. We’re in the process of adding on another 10,000 square feet.

“We have a lot of NFPA70E certifications, electrical safety in the work place. We do a lot of rigging and lifting, nuclear certs which, rig, lifting, torqueing, medium voltage splice and those kind of certifications that makes our apprentices, when they top out, more employable by the customer.”

Adrian Yarbrough, President, Shoals Electric
“In my opinion this is one of the best training facilities in the south, I really believe that. I’ve been on this committee since 1978, that’s a pretty long time and it’s probably the best it’s ever been in the last few years. I think there’s nobody that can compete with us. Not even the big cities.”

Ryan Cool, IBEW Local 558 Apprentice, 5th year
“There’s a lot to electrical work. It’s not just taking a wire nut and screwing a wire nut together. You have to learn about motors and voltages and average motor control, PLC work. There’s a lot to the electrical trade, it’s not just one little area. This school covers a vast majority and it takes all the time that you’re here to learn all that.”

Barry “Bart” Gillis, IBEW Local 558 Apprentice, 4th year
“When you come into first year, that is initially where we started our education, learning the safety aspect. You know and the things, to-dos and not-to-dos, I’d say, but we also studied NFPA70E in our third year, which takes it to a whole different level. Working in this industry, as dangerous as electricity can be, through the training and the contractors and the importance that is put on it I’d have to say in my four years I’ve been lucky to never see an injury through all the work I’ve seen completed. So there’s a great importance put on safety.”

Daniel McCrory, Instructor, North Alabama JATC
“Knowledge is power, and it really is. That’s what we’re trying to do. There’s no reason for anybody to hire us if we can’t do a more efficient, better job. And for when we turn something on to have it come on and work the first time. Attitude is everything, the willingness to learn, the willingness to participate in class, the willingness to show up on time, do a good job and stay safe, it’s probably at the very top.”

Ron Weaver, Training Director, North Alabama JATC
“In the South, I think organized labor has kind of been stereotyped. A lot of customers feel like we’re a horned beast. I tell our apprentices all the time that it’s not that IBEW bug on your hardhat, they already know you’re a union, it’s how you conduct yourself. You’ve got to be there on time, every day, ready to go to work, and every hour counts.”

Charles Crow, Owner, Garnet Electric Company
“It’s been very, very few situations that my company in the past 38 years has been given the opportunity to work in an industry that we haven’t maintained a presence in that industry. And pricing didn’t get that done. The quality of work, the workmanship is what got that done.”

Barry “Bart” Gillis, IBEW Local 558 Apprentice, 4th year
“The training that we receive here is very thorough, it’s challenging, it’s not easy. Some people can’t complete it, but the ones that stick in there and do it, it’s a rewarding career and we’re able to be in position to make a living where we can have good lives and can have a stable family.”

That’s all for this edition. Thanks for the click and for seeing how training in the electrical industry is done the right way.

For other prime examples of Training on Display, check out our archives on the website or on our YouTube channel, follow us on Facebook, and be sure to follow our Twitter feed too.

Until next time, I’m Dominic Giarratano. So long.