The Next Generation Of ECs

The end of August means “Back to School” for many electrical contractors and their families. The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) reaches out to young people and, in particular, students in a variety of ways throughout the year.

For example, you might not know that NECA currently has 31 NECA Student Chapters. The purpose of a NECA Student Chapter is to encourage students to pursue a career in the electrical contracting industry. Any college or university that has a construction-management or related program and that encourages students to pursue a career in this industry is eligible to apply for NECA Student Chapter affiliation.

There’s much to look forward to this fall. The NECA Student Chapters’ Job Fair will be held as part of the Student Forum at NECA 2016 Boston in October. Registration is now open, and I encourage you to sign up now because space is limited, and we want to provide you with the support you will need. This is the perfect opportunity for electrical contractors to meet with prospective employees, promote their company and support the Student Chapters program all at the same time.

Some of NECA’s Student Chapters grew from humble beginnings and, as Iowa State University did in 2015, went on to be named Student Chapter of the Year. Their students have seen that electrical construction offers a solid, rewarding career path. To help build interest in the electrical construction industry, NECA, NECA chapters and ELECTRI International will continue to work closely with educational institutions to attract the best and brightest to the industry. NECA’s goal is to establish and nurture successful, productive NECA Student Chapters.

Attracting young people into the trades continues to be a focus. When those graduates join the industry, they would be wise to invest in initiatives spearheaded by NECA chapters to cultivate the next generation of electrical contractors and NECA’s leadership. NECA’s San Diego chapter is involved in a weeklong summer camp for high school girls designed to spur their interest in construction industry careers. The AGC and SMACNA also are involved in the camp. 

When the camp was devoted to NECA and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, students built a solar array. Systems-integrated labs were provided, and solar racking/mounting and conduit bending/fitting were a part of the activities. There also was a career discussion and a take-home solar craft.

For all of these exciting initiatives, your starting point should be Students looking for work in the electrical construction industry can take advantage of our Career Center for jobseekers and employers. It’s never too early—or late—to get involved with NECA. By starting now, you will get ahead. 

About the Author

David A. Hardt

NECA President
David A. Hardt is the current president of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and contributes the President's Desk column monthly. He took office in January 2015 and will serve a three-year term.

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