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Apprenticeship News + Events

Wednesday, December 18, 2019   Apprentice Spotlight: Steven Strawn


Second-year WECA Commercial Apprentice Steven Strawn always respected electricians because "it almost seemed like they were magicians-they could bring life to a building that was otherwise 'dead' with lights and power for appliances and equipment, and I wanted to be able to do what they did."

So when Strawn's previous career didn't pan out the way he wanted it to, he decided to instead follow his dreams and finally become one of the electricians he had always admired.

And "after some research, I decided that WECA's Electrician Trainee (ET) program was right for me, and that led to my current Apprenticeship," said Strawn. Pursuing the Electrician Trainee program in 2016-and then an Apprenticeship program in 2017-with WECA quickly proved to be the right decision for Strawn.

"The ET program allowed me to legally work as an electrician and learn on the job," said Strawn. "Once my company saw that I had potential as an electrician, they decided to sponsor my apprenticeship and I made the transition from ET to Commercial Apprentice."

Strawn continued, stating that "I started working as an electrician [with Reyff Electric] and went from a small apartment to owning my own house with several motorcycles and cars. I make great money and I love what I do for work," said Strawn.

What's more-Strawn enthused that "I love working as an electrician because it takes both mental and physical skill to be competent, the guys I work with are first-rate electricians, and I have always been treated well, paid well, and taught well [by employer Reyff Electric]".

And Strawn believes that the merit shop philosophy works well for him because "if your company sees you as valuable, they're going to keep you around and pay you what you're worth."

During his time at WECA, Strawn has found that Instructor Zach Wallace is his favorite teacher, stating that "Zach is very passionate about teaching and has an amazing skill in making complicated subjects easy to understand. I've learned a lot from him and he seems like a genuinely nice person.

Strawn also learned that he loves to operate machinery on the job, like boom lifts.

"Going straight up in the air was quite an adrenaline rush. I was able to use this skill - among others - in the field to complete a few jobs," said Strawn.

And although Strawn is in his second year of Apprenticeship, he had plenty of wisdom to impart to his fellow students.

"Make sure you have the right books for your class, study your code book, and give 110 percent in everything you do," said Strawn. "This is the time to prove yourself."
Read more >>


Wednesday, December 18, 2019   Apprentice Spotlight: Michael Crossman


Second-year WECA Commercial Apprentice Michael Crossman's passion for the electrical trades started when he was just 15 years old.

"I really enjoyed wiring up stereo systems and knew that there was something more to that," said Crossman.

But getting into the electrical trades took some time for him because he took opportunities in other trades first. However, Crossman stated that "the other trades were just a job and a paycheck, and I knew that; I always looked to see if there was an opportunity in the electrical trade but never got the chance until I found [employer] Hy-Lang Electric. Once I worked my way up in the company to an apprentice, the electrical trade quickly turned into a passion and that's when I realized that I finally found my trade."

After Crossman was hired on with Hy-Lang Electric, he started his WECA Apprenticeship and found that it was a great opportunity to learn a lot.

"I enjoy taking what I learn in class and in labs and applying those concepts on the job site," said Crossman. "I'm able to understand what and why I'm doing something because I'm learning electrical systems more in-depth, which lets me then install [systems] quickly and accurately."

Crossman continued, stating that "by far, my favorite things that I have learned [during my Apprenticeship] are completing the labs and working in the codebook. I enjoy applying the concepts I learned in class to the labs, and I benefit from familiarizing myself with the codebook every single day on the job site. And Rick [Mortensen] is my favorite and primary instructor - he's always there for questions and is very by-the-book, which helps me learn a great deal. I feel comfortable asking him for help and he's very reassuring."

As for what advice he'd give to his fellow apprentices - or future apprentices - Crossman had this to say: "Ask the questions that you're thinking, and study hard. If you put in the effort, then it will pay off!"

And last - but not least - Crossman offered high praise for WECA and its Apprenticeship programs, stating that "WECA's Apprenticeship has made me feel like I am ahead in this trade. I thoroughly understand what I am doing on the job site and know why I am doing it, which is very beneficial. There aren't a lot of electricians that understand the why's [of what they are doing] and WECA really helped teach that. I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity that Hy-Lang Electric and WECA have given me!"

Thank you, Michael, for being part of the WECA family, and we are glad to hear that we have played an integral part in your incredible success!
Read more >>


Wednesday, December 18, 2019   Behind-the-Scenes at the 2019 IDEAL National Championships with Instructor LaKeal Morris


The third time's the charm for WECA Commercial Apprenticeship instructor LaKeal Morris - he presided as a judge at WECA Industry Partner IDEAL Industries' 2019 National Championships for the third year in a row, and as always, had a blast doing it.

"I have always had a wonderful time at the Ideal Nationals," Morris said. "When I'm not in meetings or judging, you can find me in the competitor's lounge at the pool table or playing table tennis."  

But it's not strictly all fun and games at the IDEAL National Championships.

"The events were as follows: two-person teams for the service equipment and feeder raceways under the residential slab, and individual events included things like conduit bending, Luminaire retrofits, and others," said Morris. "And the finals had five competitors this year instead of three. Two-time reigning champ Greg Anliker again took home the grand prize of $75,000 and moved on to the first-ever International Competition representing the United States."

Morris continued, stating that the International Competition "included competitors from Australia, China, Canada and of course the United States. In this
event, competitors installed systems from the four respective countries and Australian competitor Tom Matic took home a brand-new Dodge Ram truck and the title of 'World's Best Electrician."

What's more is that Morris was not
 alone in representing WECA on the national stage at the Championships. He was also joined by WECA alumna, Bergelectric electrician, and competitor David S. Moore and former WECA Commercial Apprenticeship instructor and current IDEAL Western Region Area Training Manager Ned Johns, who briefed the competitors before events.

"All in all, the weekend was a success and I believe that all involved had fun," said Morris.
Read more >>


Wednesday, December 18, 2019   Electrician Trainees -- Preparing to Take the State Certification Exam? Read This!



If you prefer to take your certification exam while referencing the 2014 National Electrical Code book, the State will allow you to choose that option for the next six months.

OR

If you prefer to take your certification exam while referencing the 2017 National Electrical Code book, the State will allow you to choose that option starting January 1, 2020. 

The 2017 NEC will be effective for certification testing in California on January 1, 2020, and the State has confirmed it will begin transitioning the General and Residential Electrician certification exams to test on 2017 Code starting on January 1, 2020. The State will also continue to make the 2014 Code book available at the testing site to those taking the exam for approximately the next six months. 

Please note: this information is based on the latest we have available from the State of California and is subject to change by the State. If we receive notice of any changes, we will send a follow-up email. 


If you are preparing to take a certification exam soon and have the educational hours and on-the-job experience to qualify, make a plan now. (Note: if you are a WECA Apprentice, you will receive exam preparation instruction on the appropriate Code year as per previously established schedules. These recommendations are intended for Electrician Trainees.)

Your exam date will determine whether you reference a 2014 Code or 2017 Code book, and whether you have an option. Here's what we recommend: 

1. Choose your exam date accordingly.
  • Before Jan. 1, 2020: only 2014 Code books will be made available for reference at the exam site.
  • For approximately 6 months from Jan. 1: you may reference either a 2014 or 2017 Code book; your choice.
  • July 1 and later: the exam sites will likely offer 2017 Code books for reference only.
  • Secure your exam date by registering with the State. 
2. To prepare yourself for the exam, enroll in an exam preparation class with WECA. See the list below for the three different types of exam preparation we offer, and enroll in the one that's right for you. 
  • WECA is transitioning its exam preparation courses from 2014 Code to 2017 Code over the next few months. Pay close attention to the Code year offered when choosing your class. 
Here are upcoming exam preparation class options with WECA:

2 Day Exam Prep, a 16-hour, fast-paced code study course in the classroom, focused on learning to use the Code book in preparing for the State Certification exam.

Rancho Cordova, January 18 - 19 on 2014 Code

San Diego, January 18 - 19 on 2014 Code

Rancho Cordova, February 8 - 9 on 2017 Code

Riverside, February 8 - 9 on 2017 Code

Rancho Cordova, March 14 - 15 on 2017 Code

San Diego, March 14 - 15 on 2017 Code

Register here

Get Wired! 404: Test Prep, Online and Instructor-Led. This 42-hour, fast-paced, highly interactive course that focuses on using the NEC to answer exam questions and re-enforcement in electrical fundamentals.

Online live webcast, Tuesday and Thursday evenings, February 10 - March 30, on 2017 Code

Register here

Exam Preparation Home Study. If you want to study at your own pace, choose this 56-hour Exam Preparation DVD Library from Mike Holt.

Home study, DVD-based, on your own schedule. Available on 2014 Code through December 31. Available on 2017 Code starting January 1, 2020.

Register here

Questions? Concerns? Need help choosing the right course? Call a WECA Client Services Specialist at 1-877-444-9322. 
Read more >>


Wednesday, December 18, 2019   You and Your Employer Can Save Money with WECA's December Special


32 Hours of Continuing Education: Easily Fulfilled!

WECA-developed Packages for Journeymen: "Perfect Sizing", "Faultless Solar", "Voice Data Video Exam Preparation", and "Fire Life Safety Exam Preparation." Currently available for $150 each to members and their employees.


WECA is offering Perfect Sizing, Faultless Solar, Voice Data Video Exam Prep, and Fire Life Safety Exam Prep., all 32-hour online classes, to WECA member contractors and their employees at the special price of $150 each until December 31, 2019! Members' journeymen can get their full 32 renewal hours for just $150.  Only employees of member contractors are eligible for this deal. 

To get the discount, these courses must be ordered by phone, mail, fax, email, or walk-in, so we can confirm employment with a WECA Member Contractor. These discounts are not available through online enrollment. Quickest way: call us at 1-877-444-9322!

Perfect Sizing:

In this course, students learn about sizing motor circuits, sizing motor feeder circuits, wiring motors and air conditioners, and proper selection and installation of the correct electrical circuit components and conductors needed for different load and circuit configurations.

 Learn more about Perfect Sizing here
But call in to get your discount!


Faultless Solar:
 
This course combines two of WECA's popular 16-hour courses, "Faultless" and "Solar Power for Electricians," into one convenient 32-hour package. Journeymen learn about how to coordinate information in specific NEC articles, so they can properly select and install the correct electrical circuit components and conductors needed for different load and circuit configurations. Then, build on that knowledge as they learn about the fundamental concepts required for safe, code-compliant installation of residential and commercial-scale Solar Photovoltaic systems.

Learn more about Faultless Solar
But call in to get your discount!


Fire Life Safety Exam Preparation:

This self-paced online course is for students who want to study for the California Fire Life Safety Technician certification exam at their own pace. Informative presentations help guide students through the National Electrical Code (NFPA 70) as well as the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code (NFPA 72). It is meant for individuals almost ready to take the exam. Much of the class is dedicated to sample testing similar to state exams. It focuses on practical research by the students to find the answers to code questions rather than instruction by lecture.

Learn more about Fire Life Safety Exam Prep.
But call in to get your discount!


Voice Data Video Exam Preparation

This self-paced online course is for students who want to study for the California Voice Data Video Technician certification exam at their own pace. Informative presentations help guide students through developing proficiency in the preparation for and execution of the VDV certification exam. It is meant for individuals who are almost ready to take the exam. Much of the class is dedicated to sample testing similar to state exams. It focuses on practical research by the students to find the answers to questions rather than instruction by lecture.

Learn more about Voice Data Video Exam Prep.
But call in to get your discount!

Note: if you or your journeymen have previously taken any of the standalone classes "Faultless," "Solar Power for Electricians," "Sizing Motor Circuits," "Wiring Motors and Air Conditioners," or "GetWired! 304" on the current code year (2014), please consult a WECA client services representative for help selecting the appropriate 32-hour package.

What if you don't work for a WECA member contractor?

You can still enroll in these classes at our usual competitive pricing. Or, tell your contractor about WECA! Ask them to read all about our member benefits and services, including our training discounts for their employees.
.
 
Read more >>


Wednesday, December 18, 2019   WECEF's 2020 Scholarship Opportunities Deadline Approaching -- Apply Today!

wecef

The Western Electrical Contractors Education Foundation (WECEF) is pleased to again offer a scholarship program for students enrolled as an Apprentice, Electrician Trainee, or a Journeyman taking continuing education courses with WECA.

The WECEF Scholarship is intended to assist students whose career pursuits are in the electrical or low voltage fields and to help them in continuing their education with WECA.

Scholarships will be awarded in amounts ranging from $200 to $500 per successful applicant and are to be used for the cost of books, tools, fees, and/or tuition.

Awarded scholarships are at the sole discretion of the WECEF Board of Directors and contingent upon the applicant's ability to meet the eligibility and application requirements noted in the application form.

Apprentices and students can learn more and download the application form at the following link, or contact 877-444-9322 for more information.

Download scholarship application here

Application Deadline: 

Applications and all required documents must be received by 5:00 PM on January 13, 2020. 

Email all materials to lsipes@goweca.com
OR
 
Mail to: 
WECEF Scholarship Program
3695 Bleckeley Street
Mather Commerce Center

Rancho Cordova, CA 95655
Read more >>


Wednesday, December 18, 2019   Health Insurance Notice: WECA's Open Enrollment Period Has Closed

WECA's 2019 Open Enrollment period has closed effective December 1, 2019.

All forms have been processed, and coverage became effective December 1. For those who added a new dependent or dependents, you should you have received your dependents' ID cards from Anthem Blue Cross. If you have not received your dependents' ID cards, immediately contact Cindy Cormier, Insurance Administrator, via phone at (877) 444-9322 ext. 117 or by email at ccormier@goweca.com.

If you have further questions or concerns, you may also contact Cindy using the above contact information. 
Read more >>


Wednesday, November 20, 2019   Showcasing WECA Apprenticeships with WECA's National Apprenticeship Week 2019 Open Houses

WECA got into the spirit of National Apprenticeship Week 2019 with its open houses in Rancho Cordova on November 11th and San Diego on November 12th.

The open houses showcased WECA's state-of-the-art labs, top-notch instructors, and three cutting-edge Apprenticeship programs - all designed to show the enthusiastic prospects in attendance how they can achieve their dreams with a WECA Apprenticeship. 

Both open houses began with presentations and lively question-and-answer sessions before segueing into the main attraction - the tour! During both tours, attendees gained enlightening insights into the inner workings of WECA's Apprenticeship programs, and learned about all the benefits that a WECA Apprenticeship can afford them - like having their tuition paid for by the WECA Member Contractor that employs them, getting to experience hands-on learning both on-the-job and in-the-classroom, and receiving either a health and welfare plan or a Fringe Benefit Package from their employer.
What's more is that prospects discovered all the paths they can take with a WECA Apprenticeship under their toolbelt - like being an electrician, electrical instructor, electrical contractor, and so much more. The sky is virtually the limit for those in the electrical trades, because the skills learned and knowledge gained during an Apprenticeship can be applied in myriad ways in a variety of professions.
A WECA apprenticeship is just the beginning - the pivotal first step to a satisfying, in-demand, and respected career that provides you a high quality of life. Would you - or someone you know - excel in the hands-on, intellectually stimulating career of an electrician? Take your - or encourage them to take their - first step toward the future today by applying to one of WECA's three Apprenticeship programs.
Read more >>


Wednesday, November 20, 2019   Learn How to Use the New Version of WECA's eCampus Mobile App

It's here! WECA's rolling out a new and updated version of our eCampus mobile app--a handy companion to our eCampus website--to give students a more seamless user experience. 


Click here to learn how to download and use the app to complete tasks like taking a quiz, checking your grades, and more!

But if you prefer the website to the app--not to worry. With our recent eCampus update, students can visit the website via any mobile web browser and the website will automatically scale to the size of their screen, giving every student the seamless user experience they deserve. 
 
Read more >>


Wednesday, November 20, 2019   Veteran and Apprentice Spotlight: Pedro Andrade


Some Apprentices and Electrician Trainees come to WECA already equipped with some electrical experience - like United States Marine Corps veteran and Commercial Apprentice Pedro Andrade, who accumulated electrical work experience while serving as a Corporal in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2006 to 2010.

And after some time spent back stateside, Andrade decided to capitalize on his prior electrical experience with the Corps and found work with a WECA Member Contractor.

"I was lucky enough to work for a WECA Member Contractor," Andrade said. "And I was able to hear of WECA through the anecdotes of my fellow coworkers who were enrolled, and the journeymen who had graduated from WECA. After this, the decision [to apply to become a WECA apprentice] was a no-brainer."

As Andrade has progressed throughout his Apprenticeship, he's reflected upon his journey from the Corps to WECA.

"Serving in the military definitely instilled a work ethic in me, and I am grateful for that. Also, understanding leadership and what it takes [to succeed] makes me follow orders until I'm ready to lead in this field," Andrade said.

Andrade continued, stating that "I would 100 percent recommend for other vets to get into this trade and succeed."

But Andrade's advice isn't just limited to veterans - it's for everyone.

"My piece of advice for any newcomers is this: stay motivated and remember why you are here."
Read more >>


Wednesday, November 20, 2019   Apprentice Spotlight: Alondra Mora



WECA first-year Low Voltage Apprentice Alondra Mora initially aspired to become a construction worker when she enrolled in a Career Technical Education (CTE) class during her junior year at Clovis High School. But when an electrical unit was introduced into the curriculum, there was a 'spark' for Mora - which led to her subsequently enrolling in an electrical systems class during her senior year.

"It was interesting because it's not like I decided 'I definitely want to do this for the rest of my life'", said Mora. "Rather, I realized that I really liked the work, enjoyed it, and never dreaded it - I would just think to myself, 'I want to know more about this.' And there was always something new to learn and it was the only thing that motivated me to go to school the next day."

And after graduation, Mora enrolled in WECA's Low Voltage Apprenticeship program with Member Contractor Sebastian.

"I chose to do a WECA Apprenticeship because everything about it is so much better than going to college for a couple of years, coming out with a bunch of debt, and then still having to look for a company to hire you. Going through an Apprenticeship, they are paying you to learn and you don't have anything to lose or owe for simply giving it a shot. So I gave it a shot - and it's the best decision I've ever made," said Mora.

Further, Mora stated that she specifically chose to be a low voltage apprentice because "low voltage works the most with telephone systems, cameras, computers, and all the fun stuff that would catch my attention."

Mora has only been on the job with Sebastian for a short time, but she's picked new things up quickly and has had fun doing it, too!

"I've learned several things so far - like how to put conduit up and tips and tricks on how to complete work more efficiently," said Mora, "but my favorite thing to work on is the telephone systems. I messed around with those a lot more in my electrical systems class which gave me pretty good insight on how this industry is and how it runs ... but the telephone systems are the most fun for me. I'm not so sure why, but I definitely enjoy working on them."

Being on the job has also given Mora unique insight into what it's like to be a female in the low voltage industry.

"So far, it's been really good and fun; I haven't had any problems or clashes with any of the guys. I love going to work and I really enjoy working with my coworkers," said Mora.

Mora's insight doesn't stop there, though. She also dispensed wise advice to those currently going through an Apprenticeship program or seeking to follow in her footsteps.

"Work the best you can, don't slack off, always be early, and most importantly - learn how to accept criticism from others. All you have to do is just soak up everything anyone says to you and figure out how to change and improve, rather than taking it the wrong way," said Mora.

With insight like this, we can confidently say that Alondra Mora is going to do great things and be at the forefront of the female revolution in the electrical industry. Welcome to the WECA family, Alondra, and we are excited to see where your WECA Apprenticeship and career take you!
Read more >>


Wednesday, November 20, 2019   Learn More About the Updated GW402 for Electrician Trainees


Electrician Trainees--you asked for solar in our GetWired! course repertoire, and we heard you! We're proud to introduce GetWired! 402: Solar Power; plus Residential Service and Troubleshooting.

This 33-hour online-learning based course covers concepts like systematic troubleshooting using the 5-step troubleshooting approach; technologies and diagnostic equipment; business elements of doing service work; service call "work order" simulations; array configurations and electrical design characteristics for grid-tied Photovoltaic (PV) systems, PV system installations from the perspective of the 2014 National Electrical Code (NEC), and more!

Ready to get started? Click here to learn more and register. 
 
Read more >>


Wednesday, November 20, 2019   California Apprenticeship Council Spotlights WECA Commercial Apprentice Nelson Caro

Content courtesy of: California Apprenticeship Council and Division of Apprenticeship Standards
 

From the article: "I am Nelson Caro, a fifth-year WECA commercial Apprentice and veteran of the United States Marine Corps. I served as a sergeant and an intermediate level hydraulics/pneumatic technician for FA-18s and KC-130s. I served two tours in Iraq, one in Iwakuni, Japan, and one in Bahrain and Syria-all before applying for WECA's Commercial Apprenticeship program. 

I've found success in WECA's Apprenticeship program in a few ways. First, you should ask as many questions as possible. The instructors are very knowledgeable and have no issues at all answering your questions. Second, discuss the topics with fellow classmates. Since not everyone learns the same way, it helps to get other points of view to get a better understanding of certain subjects. Last would be the labs. Having labs that show things like conduit bending, or properly connecting motors circuits etc. are very helpful.

To read the rest of the California Apprenticeship Council's Spotlight on Nelson and his story, click here
Read more >>


Wednesday, November 20, 2019   WECEF Offers 2020 Scholarship Opportunity--Apply Now!

wecef

The Western Electrical Contractors Education Foundation (WECEF) is pleased to again offer a scholarship program for students enrolled as an Apprentice, Electrician Trainee, or a Journeyman taking continuing education courses with WECA.

The WECEF Scholarship is intended to assist students whose career pursuits are in the electrical or low voltage fields and to help them in continuing their education with WECA.

Scholarships will be awarded in amounts ranging from $200 to $500 per successful applicant and are to be used for the cost of books, tools, fees, and/or tuition.

Awarded scholarships are at the sole discretion of the WECEF Board of Directors and contingent upon the applicant's ability to meet the eligibility and application requirements noted in the application form.

Apprentices and students can learn more and download the application form at the following link, or contact 877-444-9322 for more information.

Download scholarship application here

Application Deadline: 
Applications and all required documents must be received by 5:00 PM on January 13, 2020. 

Email all materials to lsipes@goweca.com
OR
 
Mail to: 
WECEF Scholarship Program
3695 Bleckeley Street
Mather Commerce Center

Rancho Cordova, CA 95655
Read more >>


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