Learning the electrical trade - Tucson Local Media: Back To School

Learning the electrical trade

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Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 4:00 am

There is a program now available to students wanting a career in the electrical field.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) teamed up to sponsor The Tucson Electrical Joint Apprenticeship & Training Program (JATC).

JATC was established as the “joint” between IBEW and NECA, in Tucson, more than 50 years ago.  It is a non-profit organization dedicated to training electricians.  The program is a five-year electrical apprenticeship program of 900 classroom instruction hours and 8,000 hours of on the job training.

The program has been recognized by the Department of Labor, Arizona Commerce Authority and the National Joint Apprenticeship Committee, including the opportunity to receive ACE college credit.  

Organizers say the program is committed to providing enrichment opportunities for students and educational excellence.  Tucson Electrical JATC has received the Exemplary Apprenticeship Program Award with the State of Arizona in 2008 and 2010.  

In February, The Tucson Electrical Joint Apprenticeship & Training Program opened the doors to a new training facility, located at 1949 W. Gardner Lane, where there are currently 125 electrical apprentices.  

Students interested in applying for the program must be 18 years of age, have a GED or high school diploma, have one year of high school algebra, have a valid Arizona driver’s license, social security card and reliable transportation.  

However, an application doesn’t mean a student is automatically accepted. There is a comprehensive selection process.  Once the applicant meets all the guidelines, they are scheduled for an oral interview with the apprenticeship committee, which consists of eight members, four from management and four from labor.  This selection process happens once a year.  Prior to starting school in August, the selected first-year apprentices attend an orientation, boot camp, and become CPR/first aid certified.  

Since 2006, the Pima County One Stop Program has provided first-year apprentices with books, boots and tools, and more than $1,000 of financial support.  This funding provides adults with the necessary resources to successfully complete their first year in the workforce and in the classroom.  Besides the apprenticeship training, JATC also offers journeyman upgrade classes, supervision, OSHA, MSHA, CPR, safety classes and Photovoltaic.  

Since January 2009, JATC has trained more than 100 journeyman wireman, in all tasks associated with Photovoltaic Systems (PV). This curriculum is intended for electricians, contractors, utilities and engineers, with an overall goal of developing “system knowledgeable” professionals to help ensure the safety, quality and success of PV system installations.

Last February, 52, fifth-year apprentices took the challenging, comprehensive exam on code, theory and practical application.   In preparing for the 2012 Outstanding Apprentice of the Year exam, these apprentices reviewed and answered 400 questions.  

On June 4, the program graduated 32 apprentices for their completion of the electrical program.

(Editor’s Note: Karen King is a training director for the JATC program.)

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