Wind Turbine Training Program Prepares NECA

Wind energy is expected to rise significantly throughout the Midwestern United States in the next few years as new federal incentives spur the development of clean, alternative energy sources. And in Omaha, Nebraska, a new wind power state-of-the-art facility — one of only three such centers in the country, all operated by NECA-IBEW — has been dedicated to actively training union electricians in the installation and maintenance of the latest wind turbine technology.

That story and more are among the features now playing on A joint production of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), is the only web TV program dedicated to reporting breaking news in the electrical construction and information systems industries.

The new wind power training facility, jointly sponsored by IBEW locals in Nebraska and Iowa and the Omaha chapter of NECA, was designed to simulate the working conditions of a wind turbine in the wind farm and includes a 55-foot silo that allows electricians to train for skills and safety using gear at high altitudes. Says Gary Kelly, business manager for Local 22, the facility’s curriculum guarantees that IBEW electricians "will be prepared to do the work starting from day one, saving owners and contractors time and therefore money."

Said Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman at the facility’s dedication, "We’re moving forward and you’re going to see wind turbines all across our lands over the next four to five years."

Adds NECA President Rex Ferry, "If wind power is to reach its potential, then we need a workforce capable of bringing it to fruition. Our training programs are uniquely positioned to provided the skilled workers the nation demands."

The facility was made possible in part by a $160,000 grant from the Nebraska Worker Training Board.

Also for viewing on are a feature on how the new "green" New York Times headquarters is applying the power of light management to reduce electrical usage by 70 percent; a spotlight on Boston’s Project Stand Down, aimed at helping America’s returning veterans adjust to civilian life; an examination of how the National Training Institute is advancing the state of America’s electrical industry; and an investigation into how the NECA/IBEW team is helping to turn the nation’s landfills into sources of alternative energy.

Through their joint marketing organization — the National Labor-Management Cooperation Committee (NLMCC) of the organized electrical construction industry — NECA and IBEW together work to:

— Reach customers with accurate information about the industry; and
— Achieve better internal communication between labor and management.

NECA has provided over a century of service to the $130 billion electrical construction industry that brings power, light and communication technology to buildings and communities across the United States. NECA’s national office and 119 local chapters advance the industry through advocacy, education, research and standards development.

With 725,000 members who work in a wide variety of fields — including construction, utilities, telecommunications and manufacturing — IBEW is among the largest member unions in the AFL-CIO. IBEW was founded in 1891.

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