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NJATC Rolls Out New Green Jobs Curriculum

June 8, 2009

Ensuring that IBEW members are the best trained workers to carry out the challenging work in solar, wind and other renewable energy sectors, the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee publishes its new Green Jobs Curriculum this month. The comprehensive program will be woven into the fabric of current IBEW apprenticeship training and will serve as a resource for journeymen looking to upgrade their skills in the growing green jobs market.

“If you want insight into the future of the electrical industry, ‘green’ and ‘renewable’ are the buzz words,” said Todd Stafford, senior director at the NJATC. “Getting beyond fossil fuel based power and toward electricity that’s environmentally friendly is an important step. The IBEW is already a leader in providing green energy. This new curriculum will help keep us ahead of the curve.”

With 75 lessons on everything from green building fundamentals to automated building operation, a two-volume workbook and seven textbooks will take apprentices through the details of green energy distribution. Volume one focuses on the basics of energy efficiency, photovoltaics and wind systems. The second volume outlines programmable logic controllers, fuel cells, power quality and building automation – all key subjects to help improve the modern electrical worker’s toolbox of skills.

The curriculum isn’t just for new apprentices. Aspects of it will be modified for journeymen looking to make themselves more marketable in the growing green sector, which is getting a push from the economic stimulus plan’s emphasis on renewable energy and job creation.

“Any extra training you have is going to make you more employable,” NJATC Executive Director Mike Callanan said. “Many members may just need a 40-hour training course to make them qualified to install solar panels or work on wind turbines. By completing the apprenticeship, they’ve already done the hardest part. We just show them how to put those skills to work in a fresh context.

“The technology may be different, but the skills are the same,” Callanan added.

The NJATC also continues to offer wind power “boot camps” for journeymen. Started last summer, the 40-hour specialty courses are held at training centers nationwide and give additional knowledge and skills to members beginning to work on wind turbines.

“One of the concerns with turbine work is safety – there’s a lot of climbing, rigging and hoisting involved,” said IBEW Construction and Maintenance Department International Representative Jack Heyer. “With the boot camps, we hope to give members experience doing what they already know how to do in a new and challenging environment.”

For more information on green curriculum, job and training opportunities, visit www.njatc.org.


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