The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) are the heart of the electrical construction industry in the United States. The resources of both organizations and their ability to work together have helped further the Sacramento region’s growth.
Since 1901, NECA has provided resources to its members to help them make the best business decisions and take advantage of the most modern and innovative technology. With 116 chapters nationwide, NECA is the driving force for labor relations and the voice of the $202 billion electrical construction industry.
In Sacramento, NECA partners with the IBEW Local 340 to guide and improve the electrical contracting industry. “This Greater Sacramento chapter of NECA and IBEW Local 340 have been in this area for more than 75 years,” says Bob Ward, business manager of the Local 340 IBEW. “These two organizations see each other as one — we are the union electrical industry and have a great working relationship in Sacramento.”
Among their shared efforts, the two organizations make up the Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee, which oversees the Sacramento Electrical Training Center where apprentices train for five years. They are required to have 8,000 hours of on-the-job-training and an additional 1,000 hours in the classroom.
“In the past four years, we have doubled our apprenticeship program, and this coming year we have the largest first-year apprenticeship class in our history,” Ward says. With their training program in which apprentices “earn while they learn,” those new to the industry are able to jump directly into hands-on learning on job sites all over Sacramento.
NECA’s contractors attract electricians from outside the union as well as a generation of new career seekers looking to invest themselves in a unionized industry that provides training, excellent wages, health insurance, pensions and growth opportunities. “Our best candidates, often in their mid to late 20s, have realized that the electrical industry offers great careers and a solid future,” Ward says.
“From the State Capitol building, Golden 1 Center, Sacramento International Airport and Folsom Dam, to courthouses, hospitals, water treatment plants and mini markets, our projects have spanned every kind of commercial and public project for decades”. — FRAN MCDERMOTT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NECA
Over the past four years, NECA’s Sacramento chapter along with the IBEW Local 340 have grown the labor force from about 1,000 to about 1,500 electricians and technicians, corresponding to $9 billion worth of total construction in downtown Sacramento.
“From the State Capitol building, Golden 1 Center, Sacramento International Airport and Folsom Dam, to courthouses, hospitals, water treatment plants and mini markets, our projects have spanned every kind of commercial and public project for decades. We’ve had a significant role in almost everything you look at in the region,” says Fran McDermott, executive director of NECA’s Sacramento chapter.
The electrical industry is at the core of current and coming changes that affect all industries and lifestyles, with the subject of electricity driving many recent conversations as well as state and federal legislation. The topics of green energy, battery storage, electric vehicles and their charging stations all come down to electricity, opening up vast opportunities for the electrical industry.
“The future is bright for NECA and IBEW,” McDermott says. “These two organizations will continue to grow, shape and tackle the region’s electrical challenges for the good of the entire populace.”