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Chicago’s IBEW-NECA training center prepares for influx of renewable energy jobs

Written by: Leonard Parker | Solar News | 16th September

As students begin to return to the classroom, so too are a new class of electric apprentices at the IBEW-NECA Technical Institute (IN-Tech) in Alsip, Illinois. Serving Chicago and Cook county since 1988, IN-Tech’s five-year program blends in-classroom with on-the-job education to train apprentices to assemble, install, maintain and test electrical equipment and wiring systems in residential, commercial and industrial settings. This is especially important as the need for electricians and skilled labor is expected to soar with the alternative and renewable energies jobs projected to be created by the federal infrastructure bill.

Training in advanced technologies will be crucial to meet the demand for skilled labor, according to Gene Kent, Director, IBEW-NECA Technical Institute. IN-Tech, like Powering Chicago, represents the labor-management partnership between Chicago and Cook County electricians and contractor members of IBEW Local 134 and the Electrical Contractors’ Association of Chicago and Cook County.

“IN-Tech is always poised to meet the ever-changing demand for skilled labor, even amidst the national labor shortage,” said Kent. “The Chicagoland area is primed to receive nearly $15 billion in the proposed federal infrastructure bill which will create thousands of jobs in renewable energies. At our state-of-the-art 25-acre renewable energy training facility, we’ve seen interest peak during the pandemic with no signs of slowing.”

IN-Tech starts a new class of students four times a year and currently has nearly 1,500 apprentices enrolled. The rigorous five-year curriculum includes instruction in renewable energies such as EV charging station installation, solar photovoltaic array installation and more. To provide the best hands-on training in the region, IN-Tech’s campus includes an 80-ft wind turbine, rooftop solar installations, a 100-foot cell tower and an 18-kW solar carport with four EV charging stations.

All apprentices who complete the courses at the Technical Institute earn credit hours through Richard J. Daley College toward an A.A.S. in Electrical Construction Technology.

News item from Powering Chicago