Chapter Corner

IEC Renews Instructor Conference

Posted in: August 2017, Education First

conf.-pic.jpgIEC’s Instructor Conference – on hiatus for nearly 10 years – experienced a resurrection last month. More than 90 instructors were in attendance representing 21 chapters for the two-day conference, which was held July 21–22 at the Eaton Experience Center in Houston, TX. The entire event was sponsored by American Technical Publishers (ATP) and Eaton Corporation.
 
A welcome reception was held Thursday evening and included a unique networking game. Each attendee received a “puzzle piece” with a partial question on it regarding the National Electrical Code®. The goal: find their missing pieces and answer the question. This activity proved a great conversation starter and encouraged mingling among instructors.
 
The conference started early Friday morning with breakfast and an event overview given by IEC CEO Spenser Villwock, IEC Vice President of Training and Education Paul Dolenc, and IEC National Executive Committee Secretary Gary Golka.
 
“We saw the need to reinstate the Instructor Conference because it was the one event that focused solely on our instructors, those in the classroom teaching our apprentices the necessary skills to succeed in our industry,” said Villwock. “This conference provided an opportunity to learn from one another and share best practices.”
 
“It was a pleasure planning and reviving the IEC Instructor Conference,” said Dolenc. “For me, it was long overdue and the demand from both our chapters and instructors continued to grow.”
 
Programs and content for this conference were engineered by the National Apprenticeship and Training
Committee and included morning sessions focused on scope and sequence of the four-year curriculum, Electrical and Systems Training Series, and Professional Electricians Program.
 
After lunch, attendees were treated to an education session by Glen Mazur, an author of several ATP textbooks used in the IEC curriculum. His presentation focused on the advantages of hands-on how to construct a simulated wye-delta motor using resistors and electrical tape. He did this to illustrate that chapters lacking space for labs can still demonstrate motor control concepts.
 
Afternoon sessions included LMS/CMS training, how to use digital resources in the classroom, online/blended learning, NEC 2017 changes, and curriculum development updates. Eaton hosted two additional sessions, one focusing on how to work safely in hazardous locations and the other on how to teach electricians power quality.
 
“This Instructor Conference was great for everyone involved for several reasons,” said Golka. “In addition to the networking between instructors from all around the country and between instructors and National staff, it provided useful teaching ideas to try in their classrooms and key tips on how to get the most out of the curriculum and delivery tools available to them from IEC. We definitely need to continue these conferences in the future!”
 
The day ended with a dinner and reception at the Eaton Experience Center, as well as with a self-guided tour of the 55,000-square-foot facility. The center offers hands-on training in real-world applications, such as a mock petrochemical refinery, a substation, and a power distribution grid. It also includes several training rooms for lectures and presentations, many of which were used for the conference.
 
“We were thrilled to host the IEC National Instructor Conference at our Houston Experience Center,” said Eaton Vice President–Light Commercial & Construction Programs Robert Stroescu. “We believe that the lasting effect of this event on IEC education and Eaton will pay dividends in the years ahead and look forward to contributing to the mission of educating the next generation of highly-qualified electrical contractors, installers, and entrepreneurs.”
 
Saturday morning began with breakfast and a recap, as well as drawings for several prizes. Winners received anything from an Eaton fidget cube, coffee mug, or backpack to a selection of ATP-IEC curriculum books and an Amazon Echo. The prize giveaways injected energy into attendees before they engaged in a half-day of education sessions. 
 
“It was rewarding to see the IEC instructors and staff give their time to help improve their teaching and technical skills,” said David Holloway, ATP senior vice president–Business Development. “This event provided an excellent opportunity to share ideas and best practices that can be implemented in the IEC apprenticeship program.” 
 
Based on attendee feedback, an overwhelming percentage would attend again and encourage others to do the same. One instructor said via survey response, “The ability for instructors from all over the country to
get together and discuss ideas that have worked for them was advantageous.” 
 
“I thought it was a great success, full of excitement and networking,” said Dolenc. “We can’t thank ATP and Eaton enough for their sponsorship of this event.”
 
Chrissy serves as the director of Curriculum Development for IEC National.