May 2012

NJATC Joins With 3M to Boost Online Training
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Along with a set of Klein pliers, a black roll of 3M 's Scotch Super 33+ electrical tape is a must have item in any electrician's tool box.

"It's the best out there," says National Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee Curriculum Development director Marty Riesberg. "You can't find better quality."

Now the St. Paul-based company and the NJATC are joining forces to help train the next generation of electricians.

3M announced its multi-year strategic collaboration with the NJATC April 10. The company will work closely with the NJATC to develop an online curriculum to expand the committee's already extensive classroom and on-the-job training program, bringing electrical training fully into the 21st century.

"The IBEW, NECA and the NJATC are proud to work with a company like 3M, a leader in quality manufacturing who works closely with our organizations to develop and maintain a skilled work force," says NJATC Executive Director Michael Callanan. "Collaboratively, we will develop online interactive training material which will help create a domestic work force of the most highly skilled electrical workers in the industry."

3M will also sponsor a scholarship for the continuing education of instructors through the NJATC's National Training Institute and provide training materials and equipment for the more than 300 local JATCs across the country.

Part of the appeal in teaming up with 3M, says Riesberg, is that its electrical tape is still made in the U.S.A.

"3M remains loyal to its employees and the American worker, which is all too rare these days," he says.

Made in Hutchinson, Minn., for more than 60 years, 3M 's vinyl electrical tape was developed in 1946 when 3M scientists discovered an advanced plasticizer system that gave the tape the strength, durability and flexibility needed for high quality electrical work.

Lab technicians at the plant continually test their products, subjecting them to extreme pressure, cold and heat to guarantee they will perform in even the roughest elements.

Scotch 33+ will keep its elasticity in temperatures as low as zero degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 221 degrees.

"Even in the worst of the cold, it won't crack and cause a short," says Brian Wright, production team advisor at the Hutchinson plant.

The company will also produce training videos instructing electricians on the proper use of their products.

"When an apprentice asks a journeyman how much tape he should use, the answer usually is 'until you have enough,'" says Steve Anderson, director of line construction curriculum development and training for the NJATC. "But now electricians can get a more precise answer on how to properly use Scotch 33+ tape."

3M is also working with the NJATC to develop Online Jobsite Application examples, which allow apprentices to check their work against online models.

The committee estimates that starting next year approximately 6,000 electricians will have completed the 3M Online Jobsite Application training modules.

"Providing the most state-of-the-art electrical training and making it easily available to the next generation of American workers is absolutely vital to the future growth of our economy," says IBEW International President Edwin D. Hill. "Teaming up with a company like 3M, which is committed to providing the best quality products and training, is an important step towards moving the electrical industry forward."

For more than 60 years, 3M's electrical tape has been the tape of choice among IBEW members.