Special visit

Dear Lady’s & Gentleman

On this school morning like any other school mornings everyone waiting to get there homework checked and greeting each other to talk about there job. The instructor walked in and told us that we are getting a visit from the Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez. All the apprentice had a narvous look on there face. Everybody knew when Thomas Perez entered the building because the cameras started flashing and Thomas Perez was the center of attention. When he spoke the room got quiet because of his passion, energy, and his enthusiasm for the apprenticeship.

How My Training Benefitted Me Outside of My Apprenticeship

During my training with the JATC I keep hearing the phrase; ” This training is not designed to teach you how to master everything electrical, but you should be able to have an intelligent conversation with anyone” (paraphrasing).

And this is true. I will like to tell how the training I received has benefited me with my new Air Force unit.

Recently in June my old Air Force Reserve unit was decommissioned so that meant that I had to find a new home. I ended up joining the DC Air National Guard as an Aircraft Electrical and Environmental systems. Mind you that I had no clue about airplanes except that they get me from point A to point B faster than any other mode of transportation.

However with the training that I received from the JATC, I have an understanding of what circuit control is. And I am capable of reading schematics, tracing circuits and troubleshooting them. So while I am focusing on advance aspects of how an airplane works; and learning how the different systems operate and how they work together. A majority of my counterparts are still learning the basic theories of electricity.

I can proudly say that my training has help me in more aspects of my life besides my Electrician career.

I will like to say thank you the JATC and to our trainers.


Dear Brothers and Sisters

I want to apologize for not updating you on the lifestyle of being an apprentice. I want you to get a understanding of the in’s and the out’s of the electrical field.

Siemens Says…..

Since starting my apprenticeship back in July, I have learned that there are many facets to electrical work that I had never previously thought about, or if I did, never associated with electrical work. Since October, I have been on a project doing “control work”. When I was first sent to my current site, I had no idea what control work entailed. What I have discovered is a fascinating and unexpected corner of the trade that, quite frankly, I had never known to exist.

Before entering the trade, I was familiar with the panels in the utility rooms marked “Siemens”. I had noticed them….but never really given a great deal of thought as to what they did and what purpose they served. Now I understand that these simple looking panel enclosures house the brains of many complex functions. They can control everything from water flow to air pressure to ambient temperature in a space. Without these nerve centers, the apparently seamless operation of many commercial spaces would not be possible. The devices that regulate these operations would be useless without a control module or a Siemens module to tell them what to do.

We started by pulling our control wire. Seemed simple enough. Next, we learned to terminate the devices. Learning the different devices and their function was interesting, but nothing earth-shattering. Then I was given the opportunity to begin learning about panel termination. WHOAH!

This is where it all came together. First, we had to build the panel with the appropriate modules required by the panel schedule. Now things started getting deep. Learning how the modules take the information and interact with each other to send out commands, take status reports, change variables, and make everything flow together was the “light bulb” moment. Now we could begin actual termination. That’s when things really got wild. The different cables carried different types of signals. So now, you had to be sure that the cable carrying the status to from the valve or thermostat or damper to the module was correct and different from the wire that would be carrying the command from the module to the device. The complexity of the systems cannot be understated (or necessarily adequately described in a simple blog).

The control systems remind me of the nervous system in the human body. The movement of impulses through the cables to and from the panel made me think of nerve impulses to and from the brain. The devices that receive the commands and, in turn, send statuses, are like arms and legs that move to a command or send “feeling” back to the brain. So, for example, if the Siemens panel module reads or “feels” from a device that the air pressure is too high or too low, it will send a command to the corresponding damper to open or close as needed to correct the problem. It’s kind of like a hand getting too hot and the brain telling it to pull away before it gets burned!

I feel truly fortunate that the journeymen and foreman that I work with have so much experience in this specialty and are so generously willing to take the time to explain the operations of the different devices and modules to me and the other apprentices on our site. I am grateful to be able to benefit from their experience and patience and look forward to learning more about this exciting part of our trade!

Benefits of Transferring Companies

Hello again.

I am now a third year apprentice and I have worked for three companies so far. All of the companies I worked with so far I have had a good experiences so far. I got a long with mostly everyone and I also learned something new at each company.

I have to say that I am glad that it is mandatory that we switch companies every year, because so far my experiences with each company has gotten better with each transfer. If not I probably would have been content with the first company I was at because I would not have had any other company to compare how the conduct business and how different companies approach projects.

Another benefit to transferring is that I have had a chance to experience various types of electrical projects and I also worked in various locations, such as:

Nationals Stadium
Cell Towers
Various Military bases
Sibley Hospital
Data Centers

Just to name a few..

This is giving me a chance to meet new people, experience different aspects of the trade, and a chance to learn different ways to do our craft.

My NECA IBEW Apprenticeship

Hi, thank you for taking the time to check out my blog! I will be sharing my journey with you throughout this apprenticeship. This is my first blogging experience so bare with me. I will try to make these post very quick and to the point. So here we go!

My name is Dwayne Crossgill. I am a first year apprentice that has been in this field since June ’14. I have a bachelor degree in Business Management which I used in my previous line of work as a manager of top rental car branch location for five years and a boxing fitness gym for 1 year. Long story short I was unhappy in management and sales so it was time for a change. I then worked with a friend who is a contractor doing home repairs. I found out quickly that I enjoy that type of work.

Soon thereafter a friend of mine who is a journeyman with local 26 informed me about the DC Step Up program and the apprenticeship. I went through the application process and was accepted into the step up program and shortly after accepted into the apprenticeship. Now 7 months into this new career and I am thrilled with my decision to make the change, and I am grateful for this opportunity.

Every day when I head in to work I know that I will learn a lot that day and be challenged both physically and mentally. What more can you ask for?

Check back soon for my next update…

Thanks for reading,

Appreciation for NECA / IBEW Apprenticeship program

Dear all my viewers.

I would like to start this blog by thanking the NECA / IBEW Apprenticeship. Speaking on the behalf of my fellow apprentices for giving us a career. Where we have to have or develop self-motivation from within to apply ourselves. Classrooms of people from different background and lifestyles working together as union brothers.

Paying My Dues

Hello! My name is Mary and I am a first year apprentice with Local 26. The last 7 months of my life (which could also be classified as the first 7 months of the rest of my life), have been an awesome ride.

I haven’t been to school in a student capacity in a really long time. This was a little scary, but something that I was really looking forward to. I love learning, and the opportunity to learn new things was very exciting. I have really been impressed with how hard the instructors work to help us succeed. If you have the “want to”, they really try hard to help you get the “can do”. They even do tutoring after hours. The interest that they take in your success when you take responsibility for it is amazing. When I was in college, I felt abandoned and set adrift. Here, I feel like we are in this together. It has been a great experience and even when I don’t understand something, I am confident that I can go to someone who will help me understand. I feel like I am part of something bigger than me.

When I decided to change my career, it was not something that I undertook lightly. I came from a completely different industry in an office environment and had risen to supervisory levels. To start over as an apprentice was a huge change, but one that I understood had to be approached both mentally and emotionally as well as physically. My father had worked in this trade and my husband has been a proud member of Local 26 for many years now. I had a good idea of what a day in the life of an electrical worker entailed, but seeing is a whole lot different from being.

I have often heard people refer to the apprenticeship period as “paying your dues”. When I embarked on this journey that is my apprenticeship, I did so with the idea that no task was to be taken for granted because I am “paying my dues”. But I never appreciated the true reward of “paying your dues” until a few days ago.

I went to the union hall to pay my actual union dues. It was New Year’s Eve, so a lot of folks were there doing the same. As I was leaving, holding my dues receipt in my hand, I met a group of gentlemen who were entering to pay their dues. All greeted me a “sister”, and one in particular held the door for me and indicated that even though he wasn’t working, he was still paying his dues. He was joyful and wished me a happy New Year and a happy Kwanzaa. All were talking and laughing with a comradery and spirit of friendship that I had never experienced before in my entire working life. But the part that truly inspired me, was that they included me in this. In that moment, I understood that “paying your dues” isn’t just something we do, it is something we become.

When we pay our dues, we become part of something bigger than ourselves. We become part of a brotherhood (even if you are a sister) that cares about us. I thought back to all the journeymen and other apprentices who have taken me under their wings and showed me how to do things, explained tasks or procedures to me, and made me feel welcome since I have been here. I have had a job since I was 15 years old (my feminine vanity will not allow me to go into how long ago that was), but in all that time, I have never experienced anything quite like this…..and all because I am willing…and have been given the opportunity….to pay my dues.

Book 4

Hello again,

I am now in book four the Motor book. So far I am enjoying this book because all that we have covered in the other books are starting to come together. All that we have learned so far is being applied now. So now I am starting to see the big picture instead of individual parts.

For example when we design a motor branch circuit we have to:
1 Find the FLC
2. Select the tuning overcurrent protection
3. Size the branch Circuit conductors
4. Size the branch circuit protection

All of which we have learned in books 1-4 except for finding the Full Load Current (FLC).