The Electrical Worker online
November 2022

VEEP Expands in the Golden State
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When San Bernardino, Calif., Local 477 Business Development Representative Timothy Auman heard about the Veterans Electrical Entry Program back in 2019 at the IBEW Membership Development Conference, he knew he wanted to offer the program to train and offer career opportunities for veterans in his area. He just wasn't sure how.

"After the conference we got back and got out a splash board and said, 'Let's just throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks,'" said Auman, who is himself a veteran, having served in California's Army National Guard. "We knew we wanted vets, we just weren't sure how to get them."

Three years later, after asking a lot of questions and putting in a lot of leg work, Local 477, along with its sister local, Riverside Local 440, now has a robust VEEP program.

"Timothy has worked very hard to make it all come to fruition," said the Electrical Training Alliance's Greg McMurphy, who oversees the VEEP program and has worked closely with Auman. "He has put in many hours and miles in support of the service members in this program."

VEEP works with military base leadership to provide an opportunity for service members in their final six months of service to complete a pre-apprenticeship that introduces them to the electrical trade and ends with direct entry into a local of their choosing. The program, open to all service members and their spouses, is run by the ETA and has two models of training, one for inside electricians and one for outside lineworkers.

The inside programs consist of a seven-week in-person training and a self-paced online training. The seven-week program, currently used by the JATCs at Anchorage, Alaska, Local 1547 and San Diego Local 569, covers the entire first-year curriculum of the five-year inside wireman apprenticeship. The online version currently used by Locals 440 and 477 and McMurphy nationwide includes a math course plus what's called the Interim Credential program course. The JATC in Los Angeles is taking a hybrid approach, using both online and in-person training.

The outside line program is 15 weeks in duration and covers all the content that a typical first-year line apprentice covers.

As with a lot of great programs, the trick is often to make your audience aware of them in the first place, and that often comes down to old-fashioned recruitment. Fortunately, Locals 440 and 477 are close to military bases, like Fort Irwin, Camp Pendleton and 29 Palms Marine Corps Base and had leaders willing to go out and do the work.

"Tim has done a great job of recruiting on the local bases," McMurphy said. "He is willing to provide support to his participants when they need it and isn't tethered to normal office hours."

Both locals have a goal of accepting 10 VEEP graduates each, and if there is space, they'll take more, sometimes from the other California programs being run out of Los Angeles Local 11 and San Diego Local 569. So far, they've had 14 graduates go through the program, with more approaching completion.

For the VEEP participants, the program can provides a clear pathway into civilian service, not to mention a high-demand, well-paying career with excellent benefits. And it's one that often has familiar aspects to them.

"VEEP participants already know how to follow a chain of command and do things like work as a team," said Jon Rowe, who works as the training director for both locals. "They're used to structure and formality, not to mention the camaraderie and brotherhood."

Another bonus for service members is that, since all IBEW apprenticeships are state and federally accredited, participants can collect their GI Bill benefits while working toward their journeyman card.

It's a win for the IBEW too.

"We get top-notch members," Auman said. "They're dedicated, reliable, consistent, respectful and have the ability to learn."

While VEEP isn't the only program designed to help service members transition to civilian life, it is an IBEW-specific one, which makes it a better option for a lot of applicants, said Rowe.

"VEEP gets more involved," Rowe said. "It does a good job of filtering out candidates and it's more in-depth, which makes the participants more qualified in the end. Not everybody knows what they're applying for with an apprenticeship, but with VEEP they know what they're getting into."

To other locals considering VEEP, Auman and Rowe are both enthusiastic about getting on board.

"Yes, absolutely. Hurry up," Auman said. "Why not?"

Added Rowe, "Why wouldn't you give them a chance? VEEP grads turn out to be great candidates. There are a lot more pros than there are cons."

For more information on VEEP, go to



The Veterans Electrical Entry Program has been expanding its reach into California, including at Riverside Local 440 and San Bernardino Local 477, where they recently had 14 graduates go through the program, with more approaching completion.