The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) partner to guide and improve the electrical contracting industry. Both are also committed to honoring military veterans and providing them with pathways into industry careers.
In Sacramento, NECA and IBEW Local 340 have many personal military connections and methods for recognizing veterans’ aptitude as apprentices. Both organizations make up the Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (JATC) that oversees the Sacramento Electrical Training Center, where apprentices train for five years.
Training director Chris Tillery manages the training center’s daily operations and, as part of a family rich with Army and Air Force connections, he feels honored to help veterans establish careers. Also among the training center’s instructors are veterans Dennis Caruso and Ken Irwin. Caruso, former Navy machinist’s mate, and Irwin, former Navy electrician’s mate, both share a commitment to helping other veterans into the industry.
“NECA and IBEW have been taking care of military veterans for decades. We’ve assisted hundreds of veterans into the industry and look forward to assisting hundreds more.”
— Bob Ward, Local 340 IBEW Business Manager
“We give priority to veterans looking to enter our program,” Tillery says. “Former military members make excellent candidates because of their discipline, work ethic and ability to excel in a regimented environment. Out of our approximately 330 current apprentices, 40 are veterans.”
The Sacramento program will add three more veterans in 2023 as part of the new Veterans Electrical Entry Program (VEEP), which gives military members their first year of apprentice training while they’re enlisted, then helps place them in JATC training programs nationwide to begin their second year.
The training center also partners with the national Helmets to Hardhats program that connects transitioning military members and veterans with training and career opportunities in multiple construction trades, including the electrical industry.
The IBEW Local 340 currently counts 135 veterans among its 2,100 electricians, and among NECA’s 110 contracting firms, 35 office employees are veterans. Bob Ward, Local 340 IBEW Business Manager, says, “NECA and IBEW have been taking care of military veterans for decades. We’ve assisted hundreds of veterans into the industry and look forward to assisting hundreds more.”
Sacramento County is home to roughly 90,000 veterans, but they have a small voice in local government. That’s something the Sacramento Board of Supervisors wants to change.