People Teaching People (President's Message)

I hope you enjoy this issue of Insights with its focus on Training.  Over the years I have run into contractors that don’t provide much training for their employees. Usually when I am asking them if they would like to belong to IEC, we have a conversation about their current training.  Some of the answers: 1) “Why pay to train someone so my competitor can hire them away?”, 2) “I don’t need electricians, I just need installers”, 3) “ If I train too much, I just have to pay more”, 4) Why train my future competitors?”, and 5) (my personal favorite) “I’ll just wait until you get them trained and hire them away from you!

Yes, training costs time and money, but those costs are only exceeded by the myriad costs of NOT training.  Those are many, ranging from fines for not complying with regulations, doing work over two or three times, failing inspections, having injuries . . .  Perhaps the biggest cost is in losing employees that want to be trained, and being left with employees that don’t care if they are trained or not. I believe that education matters to you, your employees and your company.  If you are an IEC member, I am probably preaching to the choir.  Education is the only way we can keep up with constant revisions to codes and standards, changing and new technology that will alter the way you work and the products you use.  Education allows you a path towards differentiating your team from many other companies, it promotes and allows your people to display true professionalism, and it allows you to build a business for the long haul.

So, if training is important to your success, why use IEC training, especially apprenticeship?  IEC has technical content that is written by electrical professionals geared for producing professional electricians.  It uses technology where it makes sense and provides value.  And IEC training is people based, like most of your business is.  We believe in people training people, and we reinforce learning with technology.

Nothing replaces the ‘aha!’ moment that comes when a teacher (a professional journeyman or contractor by day) is available when the learner is on the cusp of understanding and can provide that key piece of information that unlocks the last mystery standing in the way of full enlightenment.  Both parties benefit from that moment.  Technical texts and illustrations cannot cover the situational contexts that a journeyman can provide to bring a deeper understanding of codes or troubleshooting. IEC builds training that allows, encourages and promotes those moments that produce true professionals.

Studies show that today’s young members of our work force are interested in education, but not necessarily college and the debt that often accompanies it.  Like a game, they do want to see a clear path to a winning goal of a career with achievable, rewardable steps along the way.  They want to be educated, to have one or even better, several stackable credentials that allow them peer recognition, professional respect and portability.

I believe you wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t believe in educating yourself.  If it is important for you, it is important for the talent you have in your company. There are costs, but the reward is clear for the long-term professional business you are building for the 21st century.  My hope is that after you read the articles in this issue – you will have a great perspective on IEC education in our industry – you will grant us a favor.  Please consider making yourself a part of the many IEC people that are teaching people.  Be the one that provides that ‘aha!’ moment to someone. Take of your management time to actually teach a class to your employees or your peers at your chapter or at a National event, be involved in the Apprenticeship and Training (A&T) committee at your chapter, be involved in a National committee like A&T or Professional Development.  Help write a 30-60 minute lesson on new codes or products in our industry that you have experienced from work at your company.  Provide just a bit of that most valuable resource - your time spent to make our merit-shop association and industry great.

Your time and the wealth of knowledge, wisdom, and experience that comes with it, is the front half of the IEC education equation: People (that’s you) teaching People.  You will get a reward  in moments from learners and your peers that are participating in IEC’s truly professional approach to a credential that becomes a career.  The gift of your time is the favor I am asking, after all, somebody spent their time on you, didn’t they?