ST. LOUIS – The IBEW/NECA Electrical Connection partnership is a finalist for an award honoring minority workforce development. The St. Louis Council of Construction Consumers (SLCCC) named the Electrical Connection one of four finalists for its Organization Excellence for Inclusion. The awards will be presented on March 6, 2017 at the Palladium at 1400 Park Place in Downtown St. Louis. The Electrical Connection is a partnership of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1 and the St. Louis Chapter, National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).
Last fall, 28 percent of apprentices completing school at the IBEW/NECA Electrical Industry Center were minorities. Minorities also comprise 33 percent of the training center’s largest program – the inside day school apprenticeship program. 12 years ago, it was less than half that number – just under 13 percent. The improvements are due to a reoriented outreach and inclusive work force development strategy by the IBEW/NECA partnership.
Nearly 10 years ago as the nation was on the verge of a recession, IBEW/NECA tasked its Electrical Connection partnership to develop new strategies to energize minority outreach through its business relationships and partnerships. This has included:
• Effectively partnering on STEM education initiatives that connect Science, Technology, English and Math subjects with electrical careers. More than 9,000 students have been engaged in school districts with a significant minority student body.
• Partnering with key business/education organizations such as the National Society of Black Engineers, St. Louis Gateway Chapter; American Association of Blacks in Energy, St. Louis Chapter; Saint Louis Science Center; FIRST Robotics, Project Lead the Way (Jennings School District) and more.
• Participation in more than 20 career fairs annually at high schools throughout the area and furthering outreach through its membership in Missouri School Board Association and the Missouri Association of School Administrators.
• Commentaries in the St. Louis American that tie STEM subjects to electrical careers
• Fully supporting the Building Union Diversity (BUD) Program, a series of nine-week pre-apprenticeship training programs that ready minority construction career aspirants for apprenticeship training.
• Creatively broadening outreach through trust-building programs aimed at younger children. This was evidenced in the Electrical Connection’s reenergizing the Ferguson “Shop with a Cop” program in December 2017. More than 60 disadvantaged minority children were given Christmas gifts by law enforcement. As police were building trust, the children also became familiar with the electrical industry as part of the Electrical Connection’s support.
• Continuing support of the Regional Union Construction Center and its mission of creating a sustainable minority contracting community.
The Electrical Connection partnership has also succeeded through retention and mentoring initiatives.
Other organizations named finalists for the SLCCC Organization Excellence for Inclusion are Lambert St. Louis International Airport, Gateway Welcome Project and Construction Management Partners. Learn more about all the finalists at www.slccc.net.
The St. Louis Council of Construction Consumers (SLCCC) is the owner advocate for achievement of best practices in project delivery. It promotes project excellence through educational programs, information dissemination and collaboration.