On June 5, 2010 the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area added 115 new highly qualified journeyman electricians and five telecommunication technicians. They graduated from the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee’s (JATC) electrical apprenticeship and telecommunication programs. The JATC is sponsored jointly by Local Union 26 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the Washington, D.C. Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).
The 2010 graduation celebration took place at Martin’s Crosswinds in Greenbelt, MD. The ceremony is the culmination of 800 hours of classroom instruction and a minimum 8,000 hours of supervised on-the-job training over a five-year period. The apprentices can choose from several optional specialized certifications, including green jobs such as solar installation.Unlike college formats, apprentices earn pay for attending class and receive regular pay raises on the job as their skill and experience increases. Starting pay is more than twice the national minimum wage, with annual raises guaranteed increasing to as much as five times more upon graduation. In addition, they receive health and welfare benefits, including family members.
The work is challenging, both in the classroom and on-site. Three achieved valedictorian status, Adam Osielski (95.83% average), Marleina Reyes (89.33% average), and Elmer Morataya Sanchez (94.87% average). Osielski also maintained a blog of his experience in the apprenticeship program.
The JATC also named three salutatorians Robert O’Mara (95.80% average), Markos Enyew (86.34% average), and Louis Burgher Jr. (94.00% average).
“Earning valedictorian and salutatorian recognition is truly an accomplishment,” said JATC Director David McCord. “This program is very challenging and we are very proud of all of the graduates’ commitment and effort.”
As the country’s electrical infrastructure gets more complex, more and more highly-qualified electricians are needed to construct smart grids and buildings. The graduating apprentices are some of the 800 preparing for their place among more than 8,000 members of IBEW Local 26 who are employed by some 200 union signatory contractors.
NECA Washington, D.C. Chapter Executive Director, Andrew A. Porter remarked, “These new journeyman electricians are embarking on a lifelong career. The better pay and benefits, plus the security of being part of a vast international association of organized labor and management should be a very attractive option to some parents of high school students worried about the uncertainty and financial debt that a college degree involves.”
For complete information describing the electrical apprenticeship curriculum, pay and benefits, and application instructions, visit www.getchargedup.org. For career counseling help, you may also call the Lanham training center at 301-429-2575.