Record NJATC Donation Will Enhance Outside Line Training
October 28, 2013
The Northeast Line Constructors chapter of the National Electric Contractors Association has donated $1 million to support the national outside apprenticeship program. Chapter Manager Mike Gilchrist said the donation was the groups way of saying thank you to the linemen and contractors who helped rebuild after Superstorm Sandy destroyed billions of dollars of property and cut off power to more than 8 million homes across New Jersey, New York and New England.
“After Sandy, we had NECA contractors bringing in workers from all over the country. They helped us get back to normal life. They also made contributions to the chapter fund here,” Gilchrist said. “So this is our way of making something good out of something bad.”
This is an unprecedented gift for the 72-year-old NJATC, said Executive Director Mike Callanan, both because of its size and the freedom the NJATC has over how it will be spent.
Half of the money has already been delivered to NJATC and will fund the development of new training materials, textbooks and online curriculum for training outside industry line apprentices and technicians.
The other $500,000 has been set aside to match subsequent donations from vendors, locals, contractors or other NECA chapters to support the outside apprenticeship program.
Previous donations to the NJATC from IBEW locals and NECA chapters have been connected to an event, for example sponsoring a dinner during the National Training Institute, or donation of tools and money from manufacturers through partnership agreements. Callanan says these donations have been crucial, but they have never before been given a donation with no strings attached.
Gilchrist said that the Northeast Line Contractors membership decided to include matching funds because they wanted to motivate other chapters, locals and industry partners to, in effect, create an endowment for the apprenticeship that would guarantee the long-term health of the NJATC.
“We want to encourage everyone to make sure that whatever happens – Superstorm Sandy, a recession—we still have a well-trained farm team,” Gilchrist said.
They chose to donate to the apprenticeship program, Gilchrist says, because they were confident the money would be well spent.
“So much positive is coming out of there, transforming training and keeping up with new technology,” Gilchrist said. “They are the back bone of our industry.”