BALTIMORE, MD—In celebration of National Apprenticeship Week 2023, ELECTRI International proudly partnered with the Maryland NECA chapter and the IBEW Local 24 to host an Industry Connect event on Friday, November 17th at the Baltimore Electrical Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committee (JATC) facility. More than 50 students attended the event, coming from CAT North (Anne Arundel), Frederick County CTE and Sollers Point High School.
Industry Connect is designed to give contractors, students, educators, and other community members an opportunity to witness cutting-edge technology in the electrical construction industry. Trimble and BuildingPoint Northeast led interactive stations that gave students opportunities to gain hands-on experience with Trimble X7 Scanners, the XR10 Hololens, and Robotic Total Stations. Students also experienced virtual reality training with Siemens and participated in the “Ask an Apprentice” station.
“The best thing is it exposes them to this industry, letting them know it’s not just basic stuff like pulling wire,” said Maryland NECA’s Executive Director William Yull. “There’s a lot of really cool technology being utilized out on the jobsites and talking about the future of electrification and the electrification of this industry. There will be so many opportunities going forward and I think it’s really important that we let these young people know about this industry, let them know what we’re doing and why we set ourselves above the rest, because of the technology we use on the jobsites.” ELECTRI is taking this approach of introducing students to contractors and trade technology in the hopes of combating the current labor shortage and making the industry more innovative. It gives students a chance to interact with contractors and learn about different career paths in the EC industry as well as have conversations about how technology is used on projects.
When asked about this event, President and Owner of Deca Electrical Contractors Steven Petri Sr. said, “Having this event for NECA and ELECTRI will help us to attain more apprentices. We need personnel. We need new electricians. The industry has seen a large shortage over the years.” Also serving as NECA District 2 Vice President, Petri said, “Working with younger people coming out of school, it will help us let them know what’s out there as an alternative to college. You can have a very good career and have a good life being an electrician.”
Several educators, contractors and local government officials were also in attendance at the event. Maryland Congressman David Trone gave a speech to students about the importance of career exploration and planning. “Apprenticeships are a tremendous opportunity for so many young folks to get a really great job, great pay, great benefits, all to build a career, not a job. You do that here with the IBEW and NECA and the whole Joint Apprenticeship Training they have and all of the workforce development we have where young kids are coming in to see a path that they can take because otherwise, they’ll never know about these things,” said Rep. Trone. “So we bring it to them and say, ‘Hey, maybe you don’t want to be an English or History major, maybe you want to get a great job and get started quickly and hit the workforce.’”
Jason Perkins-Cohen with the Maryland Department of Labor awarded the Maryland Chapter NECA and IBEW Local 24 a Governor’s Proclamation in recognition of their dedication to providing apprenticeship opportunities in the construction industry.
NECA Chapters interested in organizing and hosting an Industry Connect event in their area can reach out to Anna Jochim, ELECTRI Director of Future Workforce Development for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.