Under the bright lights, on the big stage is usually where the headliners play, and at the IBEW Construction and Maintenance conference that’s true as well. The two conference workshop sessions are where attendees learn new ways of doing business. This year, members came together to learn about new programs within the industry, reflected on organizing efforts, and reviewed the political landscape. As tradition, the Outside Construction and Line Clearance Tree Trimming meeting started everything off and the big topic of discussion: growing the IBEW workforce.
IBEW International President Lonnie Stephenson said, “We’re trying to get more people engaged and into our programs by educating people. There are a lot of opportunities in line clearance and tree trimming. We’ve got an opportunity to organize and bring a lot more people to line clearance.”
The workshops always provide attendees with a wealth of knowledge about legal issues and duty of fair representatives. They also help inform local union leader about the obligations imposed by the DFR and how to avoid breaching them. Sessions held by the Electrical Training Alliance focused on new programs, like the implementation process and the ever-evolving classroom curriculum.
Bill Ball, Director, Electrical Training Alliance said, “There’s many ways to get into the apprenticeship program and we’re looking for those top students. This interim credentials is computer mediated learning where high school students receive all the information and pass courses that’s in our first year. If they are accepted into the apprenticeship program they can go into the second year academically.”
The session Political: Building Capital Influence brushed members up on recent legislative trends and how they affect the construction industry. Membership Development: Organizing Tools discussed the IBEW recruitment website and the ease of use of the phone application Action Builder. One of the most attended sessions, Getting Smart About Smart Cities: How the IBEW Will Power Smart Cities, discussed how smart cities are developing all across the country and how locals can increase their business development efforts.
Bernie Kotlier, Executive Director, California/Nevada LMCC said, “We’ve discovered our electricians and contractors already have the skills to do most of that work. Some of them do automated buildings and lighting controls, water treatment plants, or traffic signals. Those are all parts and pieces of what would be an interconnected smart city.”
At the end of the day, the workshops further unified the IBEW’s core message of growth and excellence.