Western Electrical Contractors Association, Inc.

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WECA’S EXPANDING OUR ELECTRICAL APPRENTICESHIP TRAINING INTO ARIZONA! 
New Phoenix Facility (pictured) to Greet Inaugural Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship Class in January 2021

WECA’s Big News

     WECA’s apprenticeship and training programs have enjoyed a growing national reputation for some years now, and WECA has been approached with more than one entreaty for expansion into neighboring states during that time. WECA’s Board of Directors and Apprenticeship and Training Trustees have been strategically supporting the prospect of the expansion of our training programs, but have been careful to select the right opportunities. The significant growth WECA has seen over the past few years of our apprenticeship, electrician trainee certificate, and journeyperson continuing education programs in California made clear that WECA is increasingly the go-to training solution for the electrical and low voltage industries in the West, and that the time for expansion is right.

     Earlier this year, our Board was presented with an opportunity worth pursuing--the expansion of our electrical apprenticeship training program into Arizona, in partnership with our founding member in that state, Corbins Electric. “The entire WECA organization is excited about this expansion into Arizona,” says the President of WECA’s Board of Directors, Greg Anderson of Member Contractor Rex Moore Group. He says that for the association “It’s another positive step to providing best-in-class skilled trade training to meet an ever-increasing demand.”

How it Happened

     Corbins Electric takes very seriously the quality of training their employees receive. They became familiar with WECA’s reputation as the best electrical apprenticeship program in California when employees of theirs who had first-hand experience of our apprenticeship training and the experience of working for our member contractors shared with their executives the value of their experience with WECA. They spoke of how WECA’s contractor services were top-notch, and the association easy to do business with. Terry Seabury, Executive Director and CEO of WECA, explains that shortly thereafter “Corbins Electric, one of the largest merit shop electrical contracting companies in Arizona, reached out to us to ask how they could get WECA training for their employees. They saw a need for better continuing education for their journeyperson employees, and also felt that their apprentices, who until now have been attending two other programs in their region, could be better served by WECA’s comprehensive, competency-based curriculum and skilled instruction. After our Board of Directors and Apprenticeship and Training Trustees met with Corbins, we came to the mutual conclusion that our training programs were an excellent match for their needs, and that substantial opportunity existed for WECA in Arizona as a whole. The rest is history. We established WECA as a business entity in Arizona, and swiftly gained approval for a four-year iteration of our Commercial Electrical apprenticeship program from the Department of Economic Security in Arizona. With that taken care of, we selected an optimal training facility in Phoenix, and are well underway on the build-out of that space for delivery of our technically-advanced, hands-on labs. Keith Smart, previously our lead apprenticeship instructor at our Riverside training facility, was promoted into a new role with WECA as the Manager of our new Arizona location, and we’re thrilled with the work he’s doing to establish our training facility there.”

Benefits for Our Existing California Member Contractors

     For existing WECA member contractors who work on projects in Arizona, or would like to begin doing so (the longstanding federal approval of WECA’s apprenticeship programs has long eased this route for our contractors), additional benefits from WECA’s expansion into Arizona will include: the ability to hire local Apprentices and save on the travel expenses and difficulties of temporary relocating California apprentices; keeping labor local to Arizona projects and supporting the local economy, and thereby engendering goodwill within the local industry; and increased access to a willing labor pool for Arizona projects.

What’s Next?

     WECA’s new Phoenix training facility plans to greet its inaugural Arizona apprenticeship class in January of 2021. As we also recently announced, WECA’s new Fresno, California training facility (its fourth in the State) will be open by the end of this year to better serve our members and their employees in the Central Valley and Central Coast regions of California. But that’s not all—further California training facility expansions for WECA are also well into the planning stages. WECA sees a tremendous amount of need and opportunity for our programs in the Western United States, and we’re actively exploring every possibility for meeting those needs. For over 90 years, WECA has been honored to prepare thousands of the most skilled electricians and low voltage technicians for a competitive workforce, and looks forward to serving an ever-increasing number of contractors and their employees across the American West. 

Learn more about WECA Arizona apprenticeship.

Learn more about WECA Arizona contractor membership.