Something I’ve thought a lot about since I became president of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) is the value of membership in our association. I want to know more about our members’ perception of the value they want and receive from NECA. Considering this part of NECA is both fascinating and enlightening, and it will result in some historic changes at our association.


Value, which involves costs and benefits, is a subjective term that may vary from member to member. Still, NECA provides a tremendous amount of value, but many of our members aren’t aware of all of the benefits that are available to them. They’re missing out. For instance, they may be failing to capitalize on the educational opportunities NECA offers. To do their jobs properly and grow their business, electrical contractors must invest in education and training.


Beginning with the creation of a management and technical training program that was offered through correspondence programs and local educational institutions more than 60 years ago, NECA has an important tradition of providing educational opportunities to its members. 


Just this past month, the pursuit of knowledge was a major component of our mission at NECA 2015 San Francisco. Many electrical contractors rely on our annual convention for the solutions they need on the job, in the shop and in the office. 


Today, NECA’s educational courses—on topics that include leadership, project management and technology—may be attended at a local NECA chapter, at a company or even online.


Why is NECA pursuing online training? The answer is easy to understand. Not only has our apprenticeship system moved to an online-training-based approach, but research shows that 38 percent of all training is done online, a percentage that has steadily increased in the past five years. Online training gives us the ability to be adaptable, flexible and to provide the training to the people who need it, when they need it. In a time of talent and labor shortages, this ability is invaluable to our membership.


At the Board of Governors meeting in San Francisco, NECA’s governors voted to fund the development of an online training platform and a wide range of online training courses. To read more about this exciting effort, turn to page 100 of this issue.


Moreover, NECA views training as a membership service. We want to be a resource for all members. When I transitioned into this position a year ago, I said I wanted to be a president that represents the interests of every NECA contractor—big and small—and we are driven as an association to do just that. I know that is what our members expect.


The profound investment that NECA is making in online education has the potential to change the value of membership in a meaningful and measurable way. I hope you are as happy about these developments as I am. Our website (www.necanet.org) is a good place to find the information you need about the resources we provide. To register for an online course or find a calendar and a list of courses, visit www.necanet.org/education. However you decide to further your education in the electrical industry, NECA will be here to support you.