Training Future Electricians Through the OJEATC
Being an electrician is one of the most extraordinary and dangerous jobs in America. An electrician apprenticeship is not only one of the best ways to ensure electrical contracting has a steady supply of skilled workers, but is also an important way that electricians learn to work safely.
At Miller Electric, we’ve always put safety first and so we thought a glimpse into the OJEATC (Omaha Joint Electrical Apprenticeship and Training Committee) and our involvement with it would make for an interesting read.
How Electrical Apprenticeships Work
Electrical apprenticeships are a critical component of electrical contracting. Across America, men and women – young and old enroll in their local joint apprenticeship training committees. These apprenticeship programs use standardized education programs developed by the Electrical Training ALLIANCE for the Electrical Industry, which is supported by both the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). Created more than 70 years ago, this program has trained more than 350,000 apprentices.
Upon graduation, apprentices become journeymen electricians or technicians and can practice their trade anywhere in America.
The training program is funded by electrical contractors, like Miller Electric, that contribute 1% of the hourly wages paid to their apprentices and journeymen involved in the program. Of the three tracks offered by the local program, Miller Electric uses the Telecommunications and Inside tracks, the latter of which trains electricians for industrial and commercial electrical contracting work.
Tuition-Free, College Credit-Eligible Coursework
One of the perhaps lesser-known benefits of the Omaha apprenticeship training program is that classes qualify for credit towards an associates degree with any community college in Nebraska. Students who choose to complement the program with general education courses through Metropolitan Community College, for example, may be able to earn an associates degree. Afterwards, those credits can qualify toward programs of study at local colleges like UNO and Bellevue University, which can make it easier to pursue a degree in Electrical Engineering, Project Management or other relevant courses of study.
It’s easy to see how the cumulative effect of the apprenticeship program contributes to an advanced, competitive electrical workforce, which in turn benefits the greater Omaha business community.
Miller Electric’s Involvement in the Omaha Apprenticeship Program
Miller Electric’s participation in the program gives it a competitive advantage. Intense and exhaustive, the training program equips electricians and technicians with everything they need to know to work safely and apply industry best practices on every job. The three-year low voltage apprenticeship program, for example, covers a broad spectrum of training in many types of services including fiber, VoIP, CCTV, access control, paging, sound masking and much more.
Classroom instruction covers many other facets of the trade such as DC theory, blueprint reading, grounding and bonding, and basic pipe bending, to name a few. Many, if not all, of the instructors are technicians or electricians who currently work for Miller Electric or other local firms and are being taught the practices Miller believes are critical for success and safety.
Attracting a Future Generation of Electricians
The apprenticeship program is doing all it can to encourage young people to pursue careers in the electrical trade so that Omaha can enjoy a highly qualified, safe and skilled workforce for years to come. The OJEATC is one of the best-kept secrets in Omaha that needs to become one of the best-known options for people young and old alike who are considering a career in the electrical trade.
When did you know you wanted to be an electrician or work in the electrical industry? How do you see Omaha benefitting from the OJEATC apprenticeship program? Would you like to see more young people take an interest in this profession?