Electrical Connection Ramps up Diversity Recruiting with the Return of Career Fairs

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IBEW/NECA Partnership Targets College Scholarship Fair

 With return of career fairs, the Electrical Connection is expanding its outreach to recruit a diverse workforce for the electrical and communications industry.  A staple of workforce development, career fairs had been severely curtailed by the pandemic. But the Sept. 19, 2021 Infinite Scholars Fair at Saint Louis University – a college scholarship fair — found the Electrical Connection vying for the same high school students as colleges and universities. 

It was the first time that the Electrical Connection has expanded its outreach to a college scholarship fair. The Electrical Connection is a partnership of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1 and St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).  The partnership anticipates engaging in more than 20 career fairs over the next year. And it offers college credits by partnering with select higher education institutions.

            “The nation is embracing the need to modernize electrical and communications infrastructure,” noted Sylvester Taylor, director of diversity, equity and inclusion for the Electrical Connection.  “That’s an extremely important selling point for launching a career at the IBEW/NECA Electrical Industry Training Center, where students receive the most in depth training in everything that powers and connects businesses, communities and everyday lives. Best of all, there’s no tuition, no student debt. You earn a living with benefits as you learn.” President Biden has a $1.4 trillion infrastructure plan moving through Congress. It includes significant investment in modernizing electrical and communication infrastructure.

            The training center is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year and has trained more highly skilled and safe electricians and communication technicians than any program in Missouri. 

            “This is a difference making career, one that is delivering greater energy efficiencies and responding to climate change through continuous innovation,” noted Taylor.  “Renewable energy, electric vehicle chargers, smart infrastructure, modernizing the electrical/communications grid are all part of our curriculum.”

Located at 2300 Hampton Ave., the training center is operated jointly by IBEW/NECA, which invests $3 million annually in training.  The five-year, 10,000-hour training program has a 90 percent graduation rate.  For the past 10, a third of its students have been minorities. The training center’s 78-course curriculum uses advanced technology including a rooftop solar array and courses on Building Information Modeling (BIM) and next generation electrical/communication installations, including renewable energy, smart building technology and advanced manufacturing.

Through its Electrical Connection partnership, IBEW/NECA provides safe and reliable electrical construction, maintenance, repair and replacement services across Missouri, the nation and the world. Learn more at www.electricalconnection.org.

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