News | November 17, 2021

IBEW-NECA Apprenticeship Program Fills Pipeline With Union Electricians Trained In Emerging Technology

Growing Demand for Skilled Labor in Renewable Energies Fueled by Illinois' Landmark Climate and Equitable Jobs Act

Chicago, IL /PRNewswire/ - Illinois' groundbreaking Climate and Equitable Jobs Act is fueling the state's commitment to renewable energy, and is forecast to create thousands of new renewable jobs. In today's tight labor market, finding enough union skilled labor, including electricians, trained in critical renewable energy skills to fill the job pipeline is a challenge. Powering Chicago and the IBEW-NECA Technical Institute (IN-Tech) located in Alsip, Ill. is meeting the demand with its state-of-the-art renewable energy training facility and focused renewable energy curriculum. The 25-acre campus includes an 80-foot wind turbine, rooftop solar installations, a 100-foot cell tower, and an 18-kilowatt solar carport with four EV charging stations, allowing for hands-on instruction.

The five-year electrician apprenticeship program is the only program of its kind and has 1,500 apprentices enrolled. Gene Kent, Director of IN-Tech, says they're seeing interest increase in their apprenticeship program, with no signs of slowing down. The Institute works with Powering Chicago, which is the labor-management partnership between the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 134 and the Electrical Contractors' Association of Chicago and Cook County.

"We have no time to waste in training a workforce in advanced solar technology," said Kent. "Businesses are ready to start solar installations now and can feel confident when they are working with one of our union contractors and electricians that are skilled in the latest technology and important considerations such as additional load, structural, environmental or cost impacts."

The Illinois bill is expected to create thousands of new clean-energy union jobs, expand union apprenticeships for Black and Latinx communities, increase energy efficiency for public schools and safeguard thousands of union workers at the state's nuclear plants that currently generate the bulk of Illinois' zero-emissions energy, according to Climate Jobs Illinois.

Chicago has the fourth-highest employment level of electricians nationally according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and is one of the top 10 regions for pay with an average annual mean wage of nearly $85,000. About 82,200 openings for electricians are projected nationally each year, on average, over the decade, based on BLS findings.

About Powering Chicago
Bringing together the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 134 electricians and the Contractors of the Electrical Contractors' Association (ECA) of City of Chicago, Powering Chicago is an electrical industry labor-management partnership that invests in consistently better construction, better careers and better communities within the metro Chicago region. Employing the latest technology, its members are elevating industry performance through their commitment to safety, level of experience and reliability, while also investing in the future of skilled labor through an innovative apprenticeship program that is paving the way for the next generation of skilled electricians. For additional information, visit

About IN-Tech
Serving Chicago and Cook County since 1988, IN-Tech starts a new class of students four times a year. The curriculum is a five-year program that provides relevant, constantly improving curriculum, and instruction that blends in-classroom with on-the-job education to train apprentices to assemble, install, maintain and test electrical equipment and wiring systems in residential, commercial, and industrial settings. Over the last 120 years, thousands of apprentices have graduated with the mechanical aptitude, industry knowledge, interpersonal skills, and integrity required to be highly skilled union journeypersons at IN-Tech, trained with union electrical skills. For more information about IN-Tech, please visit

Source: Powering Chicago

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