IBEW/NECA Partnerships Tapped as Apprenticeship Ambassadors

St. Louis Local 1 Electrical Connection and Chicago Local 134’s Powering Chicago have been chosen as U.S. Department of Labor apprenticeship ambassadors.

Labor-management partnerships between local unions and their respective National Electrical Contractors Association chapters are among 200 entities chosen to share their experiences and collaborate with the DOL to champion apprenticeship opportunities.

“Not enough people understand apprenticeships or what unions are all about,” said Powering Chicago’s executive director Elbert Walters III. “We need to share the story so that more and more people can enjoy the benefits and opportunities of a career in the IBEW.”

Labor Secretary Marty Walsh created the DOL apprenticeship initiative to bring together industry, labor, education, equity and workforce leaders to promote registered apprenticeships in high-demand industries.

Both Powering Chicago and the Local Connection work with pre- apprenticeship programs to expand opportunities for those traditionally underrepresented populations in the trades, like women and people of color.

Walters said that Powering Chicago participates in more than 20 pre- apprenticeships, funneling a steady pipeline of individuals into apprenticeships and solid middle-class career opportunities as journey-level inside and outside electricians.

The IBEW and NECA are the largest private sector trainer of electrical workers in the United States, jointly operating nearly 300 registered apprenticeship training centers in the United States. This partnership invests $200 million annually on training at no cost to participants or taxpayers.

A new U.S. Department of Labor initiative is widely promoting the use of registered apprenticeship programs like Portland, Ore. Local 48's.