This year, at the National Training Institute Trade Show the IBEW International President Lonnie Stephenson and NECA President David Long appeared together to speak about their unified message to increase the apprenticeship program and grow membership.
This was the first time they spoke together, and they did so because they like hearing feedback, whether it came from the IBEW or NECA. They aren’t afraid to talk about what they believe or where they want to go.
David Long, NECA President said, “We want to show people we communicate and we both have the best interest at heart. I want to grow our contractors, Lonnie Stephenson wants to grow our membership, and so we have to have profitability.”
Lonnie Stephenson, IBEW International President, said, “We were able to talk to our industry leaders and instructors about what our goals are and what we need to do to work together as an industry.”
Audience members felt for the first time, when listening to speakers at the town hall meeting, it didn’t matter if they individual was from the IBEW or NECA because the message remained consistent.
One topic discussed wasn’t so much about curriculum, but about the electrical training alliance visibility within each local’s community. Helping to fill the work force with programs involving outreach to veterans, pre-apprenticeship, and post-secondary education are all part of the promotional mix.
Lonnie Stephenson, IBEW International President, said, “We’ve got programs to reach out and let everyone know there are opportunities in the IBEW. Otherwise, we’re not going to get the workers we need. There’s a lot of people out there that would join our organization but they’ve got to know they’re welcome in the IBEW.”
President Stephenson also stressed the need to reach out and share our industry with the young people earlier than ever before. The sooner they can talk to high school or middle school students, the better. There’s still a career path for them in NECA or the IBEW, even if they didn’t go to college.
The apprenticeship program is more effective and accessible through the use of technology.
David Long, NECA President said, “Lonnie and I are completely on board with this blended learning model, learning online. We’ve got to track more people in our work force. Over the long haul this will allow us to work even safer than we can imagine.”
World-class training business does not stand still. It takes an enormous investment of time, knowledge, and materials, and it takes a united commitment from NECA and IBEW leadership to keep pushing it to new heights.