The Electric Current Blog

Getting Young Women Involved with the Electrical Trade: Our Session at Camp NAWIC

The Electrical Alliance recently led a session for Camp NAWIC (National Association of Women in Construction) with the goal of inspiring girls to get involved with the electrical trade. 


Camp NAWIC is a free program that teaches young girls new construction skills. Participants in high school get a chance to explore career opportunities and alternatives to college while networking and having fun with hands-on experience. 


Our session focused on the electrical trade and the various pathways to becoming a union electrician with IBEW Local 26. Led by JATC 26 instructors, the girls got to engage with real materials, tools, techniques, and math used by working electricians. They even got to experience sections of apprenticeship class modules and demonstrations that we’ve used at career fairs in the past. 


The young women learned the requirements for entering the electrical trade, the many aspects of life as a journeyman, and examples of the specific work done by electricians. They also enjoyed demonstrations of exothermic welding, proper safety protocols, and equipment. 


“We want to see more women enjoying and benefitting from the electrical trade because they’re still under-represented,” said Cordelia Evans . “It’s a much more affordable option when compared to college. In a few years, they could have a rewarding, financially stable career and no student debt. So, by exposing them to it now, we hope it’ll stay front of mind as they start making decisions about steps after high school.” 


Do you know a young woman looking for a career that sets them up for lifelong security and benefits? Check out the Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee’s (JATC) electrical apprenticeship program for details on all three track options and instructions on how to apply. 


Congratulations to the JATC Graduating Class of 2023

On Saturday, June 3, the IBEW Local 26 Joint Electrical Apprenticeship and Training (JATC) Committee held a graduation for the Class of 2023. The event took place at the Martin’s Crosswinds Greenbelt and recognized inside wiremen, telecom, and upgrade categories graduates.  

There were 206 graduates in the Inside Apprenticeship Program, three Telecommunication apprentices, and 69 Upgrade graduates. Hundreds of family members, friends, and colleagues gathered to celebrate each of their accomplishments. 

“Everyone in the room understands the value of a Union Apprenticeship Program, from the wages, the benefits, the trade experience, to the knowledge base,” said NAME, TITLE. “It’s inspiring to see them come together from all their varied backgrounds and unite in making IBEW Local 26 the home of the best trained and most skilled electrical workers in the industry.”

If you or someone you know is looking for a rewarding career in the electrical trade, applications for the JATC are open year-round. You could be at one of the next graduation ceremonies, ready to celebrate a new path as a skilled craftsperson. 

Get more information about starting a career in Electrical and Telecommunications Technologies.

guests at event.

Supporting Woman and Minority-owned Businesses

Supporting minority-owned businesses is a powerful way to promote economic, social, and cultural progress, while advancing diversity, equality, and inclusion in our society.

On May 11, 2023 the Electrical Alliance, Washington DC Chapter NECA,& LOCAL 26 IBEW hosted an event to present opportunities for minority-owned businesses. Electrical and general contractors had the chance to explore joint ventures and partnerships, and network with business executives, elected officials, and community leaders. Business opportunities for publicly funded projects based on new Virginia laws and workforce opportunities for local residents were also presented. 

Minority-owned businesses often play a crucial role in revitalizing and strengthening underserved communities. We are committed to reversing the systemic barriers and discrimination that minority-owned businesses have historically faced. We accomplish this by providing access to resources and opportunities and provide them with the necessary support, visibility, and resources to thrive. 

Electrical Alliance, Washington DC Chapter NECA,& LOCAL 26 IBEW are proud to uplift and support all of our entrepreneurs, contractors, and their communities and families.

 guests at event. guests at event.

Women at construction site.

International Women’s Day Spotlight:  Contemporary Electrical Services

This International Women’s Day, we’re showcasing Contemporary Electrical Services (CES), an Electrical Alliance contractor passionate about creating a more equitable workplace. CES strives to create equal opportunity for everybody by actively recruiting a diverse workforce and valuing the perspectives of all employees. 

“Since 1989, CES has been a leader in the electrical contracting industry and an advocate for a wide variety of causes,” said Human Resources Director CES Kara Cuskelly. 

For example, in 2022, CES sponsored the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington Youth & Real Estate Event to invest in opportunities for our youth. 

CES has also started an initiative to help women in the industry network with one another. To do so, two women on their team created a Women’s Golf Clinic to help women gain more confidence attending corporate golf outings. 

“Some of our team members are also members of The National Association of Women In Construction (NAWIC), which is committed to championing women to impact the direction of the construction industry,” Cuskelly added. 

In honor of March’s Women in Construction week, CES is saying thanks to the talented, committed women on their team.

“In a predominantly male industry, our women are extremely hard working and a tremendous asset to the team,” said Cuskelly. “We encourage women to join the trades and hope that we see an increase within this demographic in our near future.” 

Women in office with dogs.


Happy Holidays

Wishing you a season filled with joy and hope!

It’s been another eventful year at the Electrical Alliance. Here are some of our favorite stories from 2022.



The Maryland Electricians Act now offers a statewide Journeyman and Apprentice License.

Read More >


Fast Charging Stations are bringing convenience to electric car owners in the Washington, D.C. area.

Read More >


Environmentalists, contractors, manufacturers, and union members formed a new coalition to advocate for labor standards in green energy legislation.

Read More >


Celebrating the legacy of George Hogan, business manager of the IBEW Local 26.

Read More >


We’re so excited to have partnered with Maryland Center for Construction Education & Innovation on the video ‘The Life Cycle of an Electrician’.

Read More >


Thank you for making 2022 a truly outstanding year. We send you our best wishes for a prosperous and healthy new year.

JATC grad

Video Premiere: ‘The Life Cycle of an Electrician’

We’re so excited to have partnered with Maryland Center for Construction Education & Innovation on the video ‘The Life Cycle of an Electrician’.

The video follows Che’Maiah, Brian, and Chad as they discuss the career stages for an electrician. Skills-based education, hands-on training, and expert guidance from local contractors allow apprentices to move up and eventually become a master electrician or business owner.

Check out the video to see what you can accomplish as part the Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee’s apprenticeship program:

Members attending a ceremony.

Uplifting Small, Women-Owned, and Minority Contractors

On October 11, 2022, community and union members came together to uplift small, women-owned, and minority contractors (SWaM) across the Washington, DC region.

The event included electrical, plumbing, steam-fitting, and mechanical contracting unions. Members of IBEW Local 26, UA Local 5 and 602, NECA, MCA, city councils, school boards, and non-profits were all in attendance.

The goal of the event was to shed light on how local unions have influenced SWaM contractors’ career trajectories and the communities they call home.

This sense of support from unions is instrumental in setting individuals up for the rest of their lives. By offering continuing education, trade unions help members break free from college debt, while getting healthcare, and even buying homes. Apprentices come in, earn an education, and walk away with a career path to a more secure way of life.

“The union gave me an opportunity after my mom died when I had none,” said IBEW Local 26 member Claudia Achury.

“I have worked hard to be successful for myself, my kids, and my union. I have just applied to be a Project Manager and am studying to be an electrical engineer. Since I have become an electrician with IBEW, I bought a home and just bought another in South Carolina. Like any woman, I want to be successful.”

Of course, it isn’t only the contractors themselves who benefit from the support of unions. There’s a ripple effect throughout the community when workers are supported—especially SWaM workers.

“I take my job as an elected official and steward of taxpayer dollars very seriously,” said Michele Reiff of the Alexandria School Board.

“If we can make sure that these building modernizations are completed on time and on budget, using the best-trained folks, pay the best wages, keep the highest safety standards, provide job opportunities for city residents, and on-the-job training, that is a win-win.”

Interested in a rewarding career as an electrician?

For more information about our electrical apprenticeship training program, head to our Get Charged Up page.

JATC grad


What year are you in the program?

3rd and Final Year of the Telecomm Program


What Company do you work for?

Cabling Systems Incorporated


What’s it like being a telecomm apprentice?

It’s a lot of fun. I get to try a lot of new things and get a better understanding of what I’m doing at work in the field. I love learning to problem solve and about other aspects of the work that I’m interested in.


What is your favorite subject in the classroom?

Oddly enough I really liked AC/DC theory even though I don’t currently use it at my job.


What is your favorite type of work in the field?

I like audio visual work. With AV I love getting to wire and setup conference rooms: microphones, screens, speakers, phones, etc. I like seeing a project from the barebones up until I get to actually walk the customer through how to use the technology.


How are you staying involved with IBEW?

I joined the sisters of 26 a group for sisters and identifying sisters to come together as females in the trade to share our experiences. Now I’m the recording secretary. Then I joined the EWMC the Electrical Workers Minority Coalition and even got to go to the gala this year. I’m starting to get involved with RENEW which is a club for the apprentices and members under 35 to share their experiences of coming up through the trade.


What do you think sets you apart as an apprentice?

I try to never stop asking questions. That helps me to advance because I’m always taking initiative to take that next step and be a better helper. I’m always trying to anticipate and be helpful to my foreman or supervisor.


What’s next?

I’m reaching out to other apprentices at my company to get them more involved. I want to see more active apprentices in networking and the union before they become Journeyman.

IBEW Local 26 and Environmentalists Pursue a Green Energy Collaboration that Supports Workers 

Lanham, MD – On August 28th environmentalists, contractors, manufacturers, and union members formed a new coalition. The goal of this collaboration is to advocate for labor standards in green energy legislation at the state and local level while working together on active federal projects.

The event was hosted by IBEW Local 26 at their headquarters in Lanham, Maryland and focused on finding ways to pursue a greener future without sacrificing workers’ equity.

The attendees discussed creating partnerships on upcoming projects like EV charging stations and large-scale solar arrays. They also discussed legislative priorities like prevailing wage, wage theft protections, and community workforce agreements.

Historically, labor and the green movement have been at odds over the acceleration towards a clean economy because of low wages in green tech construction and rampant worker abuses.

“It’s a tough ask for a mine worker making ~$60,000/yr or a pipeline welder making ~$70,000/yr to cut their salaries in half installing solar panels, with no healthcare, retirement, or time off,” said Don Slaiman. “The solar industry was rolled out by the Rahm Emanuel staffed White House which prioritized investing in green entrepreneurs to kick start and drive the industry which resulted in prioritizing a race to the bottom. The Biden Administration is emphasizing labor standards and matching sustainable jobs with the goal of achieving a sustainable environment. Green Energy careers!”

This partnership between the labor and environmentalist movements aims to mend that rift and ensure that, moving forward, the transition to a clean economy is equitable for everyone in the community.

The solar installation field represents a unique opportunity for organized labor and the IBEW. These large-scale solar arrays need to be built by union contractors. At the same time, the current solar installers have an opportunity, a pathway to a meaningful career with higher pay and benefits as union electricians.

“Ultimately, we have to make sure we prioritize creating equity as we make transitions to a greener economy,” said Slaiman. “We have to keep both the environment and disaffected communities in mind by continuing to provide good wages and benefits. If we all work together, it is absolutely possible.”


Congratulations to the 2022 electrical apprenticeship program graduates

Electrical engineer using digital multi-meter measuring equipment to checking electric current voltage at circuit breaker in main power distribution board.

235 students are graduating from the Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee’s (JATC) electrical apprenticeship program this year. Earlier this June, The Electrical Alliance and our partners celebrated the graduate’s success with a well-deserved day that was completely dedicated to their achievements.

These grads now have Journeyman status which allows them to travel all over the United States and Canada without having to reprove themselves or their skills. This also means they will be able to earn top pay wherever they go. 

Many graduates are currently working with a reputable contractor and will continue to work with them as long as they see fit. Of course, by having Journeyman status and top-level training from the JATC, they’re empowered to move and work wherever life takes them. 

“It gives me such a sense of pride, knowing how hard my staff and the students work to complete the program,” said Christopher M. Cash, a Director of Apprenticeship for the IBEW Local Union 26. “It is not an easy curriculum and they have to work 40 hours a week while keeping up with school. To watch them grow over the 5 years is like night and day. The way this program and this industry changes their lives is amazing.”

One of the most valuable benefits of the JATC program is that it’s equivalent to a four year college degree—without the debt. Students get to earn while they learn as they receive a combination of classroom and on-the-job training. This is why the Electrical Alliance is an active advocate for the trades. For many people, trades are a fruitful alternative to a conventional college education because of the security it provides. 

When it comes to advice for this year’s graduates, Cash stresses they should never stop learning. 

“Set new goals and never stop until you reach those goals,” said Cash. “And challenge yourself to move the JATC program forward in the future by doing your part in recruiting the future of our industry.”

A huge congratulations to 2022’s graduates! Here’s to a bright future for you and your communities. 


Looking for a fulfilling career with rewarding benefits and pay?

The JATC provides education that gives workers the highest standard of classroom and on-the-job training. Unlike most training programs, the JATC doesn’t simply educate you and let you handle the rest. We educate you and then help you find quality employment throughout your career. Education also doesn’t stop at the end of your apprenticeship program. We provide continuous training for apprentices, journeymen, and supervisors throughout their careers. This helps guarantee an adequate supply of trained personnel and a more efficient workforce.

To learn more or to apply, head to