NECA-IBEW Electricians Invest in Workforce Training

Editor’s Note: The following story is from Growth Report 2017, published by The Business Journal.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — NECA-IBEW Electricians member contractors collectively point to investing in their people, emerging technology and the community as the most powerful ways they’ve sustained success.

Now entering 114 and 90 years, respectively, local chapters of the National Electrical Contractors Association and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers say they have left a lasting legacy as residential, commercial and industrial electricians who have helped shape the landscape of the Mahoning Valley.

NECA-IBEW Electricians is an association of IBEW Local 64 (Youngstown), IBEW Local 573 (Warren) and signatory electrical contractors in the Mahoning Valley.

Evidence of the industry’s bright future can be seen at the corner of Southern Boulevard and Western Reserve Road in Boardman, the site of the Youngstown Area Electrical Joint Apprenticeship Training Commitee’s new training center. The facility, funded by member contractors, houses the electrical apprenticeship and journeyman training programs and the offices for IBEW 64 union leadership.

“Our industry locally is experiencing an aging workforce, so we needed a state-of-the-art facility to recruit and train the next generation of union electricians,” says Jim Burgham, business manager, IBEW Local 64. “The new space greatly expands our capabilities and adds new equipment and tools that give our apprentices unique, hands-on learning opportunities that complement their field training.”

Investing in a highly-trained workforce powered by the latest technology and tools is critical, but NECA-IBEW electricians’ impact in the community goes beyond what they do “on the clock,” Burgham notes

Member contractors and affiliated unions buy into the importance and value of investing in the community. A prominent initiative is supporting local veterans-related causes.
“Our veterans have sacrificed greatly to give us the freedoms we enjoy every day,” says Jack Morse, business manager, IBEW Local 573. “One of the greatest returns we can get on our investment is by supporting our veterans.”

In 2016, the organization donated labor and materials to cover renovation work on a local VFW hall in Austintown, as well as financial help to the YSU Veterans Center. It will continue to support veterans causes in 2017 with a concentrated effort to identify and support additional needs of area veterans, Morse says.

Other community service initiatives include a scholarship through the YSU Foundation for families employed through member contractors and unions, Relay for Life events, Youngstown and Warren beautification efforts, and more.

Member contractors have an optimistic view of the local region’s economy in 2017, largely driven by projects such as the Lordstown Energy Center, the Shell cracker plant in Monaca, Pa., Youngstown City Hall Annex, Meijer’s, Nordson Xaloy, Chill-Can and expansion and renovation of local hospitals and schools.

“So far in the new year, we’re busy in the residential sectors,” says Jack Savage, Mahoning Valley NECA executive director. “The commercial sector is starting a bit slowly, but we’re projecting some good-sized commercial and industrial jobs on the horizon.”

NECA-IBEW Electricians member contractors cover Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties. They include Becdel Controls, Boot Electric, Bruce & Merrilees, CR Electric, Cretella Electric, Datacomm Inc., Falls Electrical Contractors, Grunau Company, Gulu Electric, “Joe” Dickey Electric, Keeling Brothers Electric, Liberty Electric, Main Lite Electric, MG Electric, Penn-Ohio Electric, Rafoth Electric, RLM Electric, Roth Brothers, Santon Electric, Tri-Area Electric, University Electric, VEC Inc. and Zenith Systems.

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