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Wednesday, January 31, 2024   A WECA Electrical Education and Expertise Can Take You a Lot of Places

Check Out Some Possibilities with Our ?Electrician Career Tree Infographic



Where can your WECA electrical education and expertise take you?

There are a lot of possibilities out there--and there could be specialties and related careers you've never considered before! Explore some of the many directions you could go with this infographic.

Download your own PDF copy here.

P.S. Stay tuned for a Low Voltage Technician Career Tree coming soon!

Read more >>


Wednesday, January 31, 2024   Congratulations to the WECA Arizona Commercial Electrical Class of 2023!

Share in Their Graduation Event with Video and Pictures of the Celebration

Watch our celebration video:



See some moments from the evening:



















 
Read more >>


Wednesday, January 31, 2024   Spotlights on Two of Our Arizona Program Graduates


Valedictorian Logan Stroop

For 2023 WECA Arizona Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship Valedictorian and WECA Arizona founding Member Contractor Corbins employee Logan Stroop, his WECA educational experience can be summed up in one word: “amazing.”

“It was an excellent blend of electrical theory and hands-on labs,” Logan says. “My WECA education gave me a strong foundation in ‘why’ we do what we do. It elevated me from a basic installer to a legitimate electrician capable of problem-solving based on the underlying principles of the issue.”

Logan credits a strong support system – in the classroom, on-the-job, and at home – to his success in WECA Arizona’s Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship Program.

“First and foremost, I’d like to give a shout-out to my wife, Lindsey. She is my serenity. Next, Instructor Keith Smart never shied away from a code challenge or failed to take the time to explain something until he knew I had a full understanding. He is an asset to the electrical community, ensuring that the next generation of electricians in Arizona have the tools to be successful. And my leadership at Corbins – David Pollard, Andy Blahak, Darin Johnson, Teryl Crank and Matt Apodaca, to name a few – always pushed me to be better and never accepted ‘good enough’ because they themselves strive to be great,” Logan says.

Logan’s striving for greatness doesn’t end with graduation – he acknowledges that the pursuit of education and advancement is a lifelong journey.

“You determine the quality of your life,” Logan says. “Take responsibility for your education and give it 100 percent. It will return whatever you put in tenfold. Never stop learning; always remain teachable. I am going to continue to grow as both an electrician and as a leader with Corbins. I have already begun to look at courses related to Construction Management, among others, to deepen my knowledge of this ever-growing field.”

Congratulations on your graduation, Logan! Your tenacious and enterprising work ethic will take you far, and WECA looks forward to sharing in your journey!

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Graduate Jordan Herrick

2023 WECA Arizona Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship graduate and WECA Member Contractor K2 Electric employee Jordan Herrick says that transferring to WECA from his previous educational institution was a “night and day transition” and cites WECA’s Apprenticeship model – with classes held during the daytime for two weeks per semester, allowing Apprentices to receive on-the-job training the rest of the time – as “the best of both worlds”.

“I switched from learning from a book to working hands-on with systems I encounter in the field,” Jordan says. “My instructor, Keith Smart, provided many real-world examples of the subject matter we were learning, and was able to help me understand content instead of just handing it to me. WECA is an enjoyable program that taught me things I use on-the-job every day; it gave me great problem-solving skills, the versatility to complete tasks, and progressed me to my full potential.” 

Jordan also credits WECA’s Apprenticeship program with helping him develop more confidence on-the-job.

“After my final semester at WECA, I became a journeyperson and began working as a foreman. Being in the position to make decisions that directly affect a jobsite can be stressful, but with the code knowledge I learned at WECA and on-site training with my employer, I now feel comfortable making those decisions and leading others,” Jordan says.

But the determination to succeed, drive to perform to the best of his ability, and desire to continually improve both personally and professionally all comes from Jordan, buoyed by support from his family, employer, and instructor Keith Smart.

“My parents instilled a strong work ethic in me from a young age and supported me throughout school and in life in general,” Jordan says. “I’m also grateful to K2 for investing their time and resources into progressing my skills and my future, and to Keith for his patience and willingness to make sure all students were confident with the curriculum and understood its importance.”

Post-graduation, Jordan looks forward to continuing his successful career at K2 and pushing himself to continually improve.

But before Jordan sets off on the next stage of his commercial electrical journey, he encourages current and future WECA Apprentices to “Enter class every day with an open mind and a willingness to learn. WECA will make you a better electrician, but you have to want to learn and succeed for yourself. If you are willing to put in the hard work to succeed, WECA will help you achieve.”

Congratulations, Jordan! We’re glad that WECA was the right program to help you accomplish your goal of becoming a journeyperson and a foreman, and are proud that our Apprenticeship program helped give you confidence to join the next generation of leaders in the Arizona electrical industry!

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Wednesday, January 31, 2024   EC&M Profiled WECA's Original VR Development for its Apprenticeship Programs in Recent Article

Electrical Construction & Maintenance (EC&M) Profiled WECA's Original Virtual Reality (VR) Development for its Apprenticeship Programs with Their Recent Article "How VR Tools Help Train Electrical Apprentices in BESS Inspection Skills"


 

Content courtesy of: Electrical Construction & Maintenance (EC&M)

Tom Zind

Aiming to improve learning, connect with digital natives, and get a foothold on visualization technology’s cutting edge, Western Electrical Contractors Association (WECA) is making an introductory bet on a virtual reality (VR) tool as an electrical skills training aid.

The group, which serves 300 merit shop electrical contractors in California, Arizona, and Utah with worker training programs and advocacy, has begun using a VR gaming app to help teach apprentices about commercial battery energy storage systems (BESS).

Apprentices in WECA’s commercial electrical program use the VR app to simulate a BESS pre-commissioning inspection. It effectively tests them on BESS knowledge imparted through traditional instruction in the power generation and distribution component of the comprehensive apprenticeship curriculum. Using VR headsets, apprentices walk through a mock inspection, locating specific components, completing checklist tasks, and answering questions that quiz them on their understanding of applicable code regulations.

Early indications are that the VR app (introduced in September and utilized by some six dozen apprentices through early November) is living up to expectations that it would improve the learning process. On one objective measure, test scores for the VR component of the BESS training are averaging higher than those for the two that precede it, says Michelle Gilkey, WECA’s chief growth and innovation officer. Additionally, all who’ve used it have passed, demonstrating skill and understanding. More importantly, perhaps, there’s anecdotal evidence that it delivers on a twin goal of blending measures of non-traditional learning and serious, high-quality instruction. 

“Our instructors have reported that they’ve observed students having greater engagement with the material as well as greater retention of component names, layout, and wiring after completing the VR simulations,” she says. “Apprentices who have had real world BESS experience prior to the class have reported that the VR simulation is accurate and realistic, and students who have not yet had BESS work in the field have mentioned that it helps them visualize what they may encounter in the near future.”

With the VR app successfully tested and now fully integrated into BESS training apprenticeship programs at five training centers, WECA will be looking for opportunities to expand on its vision for enhancing training with a fuller spectrum of extended reality (XR) tools. Suspecting that XR will markedly improve/expand training and aid recruitment of young, tech-engaged apprentices, WECA hopes to deliver on its board of directors’ commitment to “developing industry-leading advanced learning technologies focused on XR experiences to bring exciting, remote, and complex environments into WECA’s hands-on labs and classrooms,” Gilkey says.

That expansion would be guided by in-house instructional design teams, as well as member contractors and commercial partners like Canadian VR application developer Motive.io, which provided the content and technology expertise to get the VR app for BESS off the ground. Work is underway now, Gilkey says, on developing a VR tool for confined spaces safety training spanning the full apprenticeship curriculum; expanding the scope of VR in the BESS training; and developing an augmented reality-based lesson to complement enhancements to the data room lab portion of the low-voltage curriculum.

Contractors, whom Gilkey credits for shepherding the app’s development, will likely have a central role in XR development for training, given the importance of adapting the technology to the content, not vice versa. The lead WECA contractor representative in the BESS VR app project was Troy Robinson, general superintendent with Helix Electric, San Diego. He likes what he sees with the app, its ability to give a highly accurate representation of what a BESS looks like, and how it should be navigated. Moreover, it’s all in a safe environment, which is key to training, especially on something new and emerging like battery systems.

“The safety piece is big, just taking the potential risk out of the training equation, not having the hands-on lab part of this where you could get hurt,” he says, adding that VR could find application in training installers of solar systems, a market Helix is developing that will increasingly demand well-trained installers who can learn comprehensively in a safe environment.

But the priority for any training enhancement, he says, must remain efficiently and effectively delivering the knowledge that translates to skill in the field, and VR could be a silver bullet in that regard. That, too, is the priority of WECA as it moves ahead on the XR front, says Gilkey.

“We have a guiding principle in our XR development — we never seek to add technology just for technology’s sake,” she says. “Rather, we add it only when it allows us to go beyond physical lab limitations to truly expand our apprentices’ learning experience opportunities.”

View the article on their website. There's a registration wall, but it'll be free to view after registration.

Read more >>


Wednesday, January 31, 2024   GetWired Students Have Fun and Learn New Skills in Recent GetWired 104 Conduit-Bending Lab

If you can dream it, you conduit! (Sorry. We're sorry.)















Read more >>


Wednesday, January 31, 2024   WECA's Salt Lake City Region Training Center and Utah Headquarters Celebrates First Anniversary








 

Happy first anniversary to WECA's Salt Lake City Region Training Center and Utah headquarters!

On January 24, 2023, WECA opened its newest apprenticeship training center in Salt Lake City, Utah! It's been a wonderful year serving our members and apprentices in this new state.

Please join us in congratulating Utah Apprenticeship Manager and Lead Instructor Talon Pobuda on all his successful efforts there in the past year -- and here's to many, many more!

Read more >>


Wednesday, January 31, 2024   Now Available Online for Enrollment: WECA's Session 2 Catalog (Apr-Jun 2024)

Now Available Online for Enrollment: WECA's Session 2 Catalog (Apr-Jun 2024) for Electrician Trainees and Journeyperson Continuing Education


 

Announcement for WECA Electrician Trainees and Journeyperson Continuing Education Students and our Member Contractors who employ them: Our Spring 2024 (Apr - Jun) course catalog is now available on our website, and GetWired instructor-led classes always fill quickly. Be sure to enroll ASAP to get your spot!

View the Electrician Trainee course catalog

Jump to the Journeyperson continuing education course catalog
 

You can also enroll over the phone at (877) 444-9322, in person at our Rancho Cordova training facility, or by email at info@goweca.com.

Don't wait to secure your seat!



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And remember: there are now three different ways to take GetWired!

Watch our explainer video and get all your questions answered:

Read more >>


Wednesday, January 31, 2024   WECA's GetWired Training and Delivery Teams Kick Off New Year with Train the Trainer Meeting


 

WECA's GetWired training and delivery teams kicked off the New Year with their semi-annual virtual Train the Trainer meeting this month.

Galen Eckert, WECA's Online Education Manager for Electrician Trainee/Continuing Education Programs, says the team discussed topics like keeping students engaged, techniques to connect with students, the three ways that Electrician Trainees can pursue their GetWired course path to an Electrician Trainee Certificate with WECA, and more.

Thank you to all our GetWired instructors and everyone who works behind the scenes for their dedication to delivering premier online education and ensuring our students' success online and on-the-job!

Read more >>


Wednesday, January 31, 2024   Two WECA Apprenticeship Programs Have College Credit Recommendation Eligibility Renewed by NCCRS

WECA Commercial and Residential Electrical Apprentices: WECA's Commercial Electrical and Residential Electrical Apprenticeship Programs' College Credit Recommendation Eligibility Renewed by National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS)


 

WECA is pleased to announce that the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS) has renewed the Commercial Electrical and Residential Electrical Apprenticeship programs' college credit recommendation eligibility for another five years.

This renewal will continue to allow WECA Commercial Electrical and Residential Electrical Apprenticeship graduates pursuing traditional college or university degrees after their apprenticeship to petition to receive college credits for the programs they have completed at WECA.

In their report assessing the Commercial Electrical and Residential Electrical Apprenticeship programs' continued eligibility for college credit recommendations, NCCRS' evaluation team members commented that course materials are excellent, comprehensive, and well-laid-out; course learning objectives are clear; and instructors are well-qualified.

(WECA's Low Voltage Apprenticeship program is similarly recommended for college credits, but is evaluated on a different cycle than our Commercial and Residential programs.)

Learn more about how Commercial, Residential, and Low Voltage Electrical Apprenticeship WECA Grads Can Seek College Credits for Program Completion

Read more >>


Wednesday, January 31, 2024   WECA Veteran Apprentices in California and Utah: The GI Bill Covers Your Electrician Licensing Fees

Content courtesy of: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Get paid back for test fees

The GI Bill covers more than just tuition. You can use part of your entitlement to cover the cost of certain tests you need to take to become a licensed professional--or to apply for college or a training course. We only cover tests approved for the GI Bill under this benefit, so find out what's approved before you take any tests.

What types of tests can I get paid back for through the GI Bill?

For licensing

If you're a veteran and you qualify for the GI Bill, you may be able to use part of your entitlement to cover test fees up to $2,000 for a job that requires a license in order for you to work.

You can use our search tool to learn which tests are covered and their costs. In the field that says "L&C Name", enter the name of the license or certification you're interested in.

Find out which tests are covered and how much they cost.

Note: If you don't see a test listed, it may be a valid test that's just not yet approved. Please submit an application for reimbursement.

What you should know if you're eligible for test benefits

  • We'll pay for tests for as many approved licenses you'd like.
  • We'll pay for tests even if you don't score high enough to get your license. You can take the same test as many times as you need.
  • We'll pay for you to retake a test you passed if you need to take it again to get recertified or retain a license you already have.
  • We won't pay for fees or costs related to getting the actual license document.
  • We won't pay more than $2,000 in fees for one test.

For tests taken after August 1, 2018, we'll prorate the entitlement charges under the Post-9/11 GI Bill based on the actual amount of the fee charged for the test.

How do I get this benefit?

For licensing

You'll need to fill out an Application for Reimbursement of Licensing or Certification Fees (VA Form 22-0803).

Get VA Form 22-0808 to download.

Note: Please turn in proof of payment with your application. Proof of payment can be a receipt showing you paid the testing fee.

Then, upload your completed form through QuickSubmit on AccessVA.

Upload your completed form using QuickSubmit on AccessVA.

Or mail your completed form to your VA regional processing office.

Find your VA regional processing office.

Who can I contact if I have questions?

Read more >>


Wednesday, January 31, 2024   WECA Apprentices: February Just Got a Little Sweeter

Access--Or Create an Account for--Your Complimentary SmartDollar Apprentice Benefit to Participate in February's SmartDollar Cash Giveaway


 

Content courtesy of: SmartDollar

February just got a little sweeter. SmartDollar's cash giveaway starts NOW.

The giveaway is live! And earning entries is simple. All you need to do is log into your SmartDollar account (or create one if you haven't already) and start using it. Best of all? You can earn entries every day.

There's no need to send us chocolates or flowers--your SmartDollar account and giveaway entries are free!

Now's the time to start using SmartDollar and winning with money.

You could win:

  • $500 Prize Each Week
  • $1,000 Budget Bonus Prize
  • $5,000 Grand Prize

Log into your account here or scroll below for directions on how to get started today.

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Not yet signed up for SmartDollar? No worries -- getting started is easy! Learn how below.

SmartDollar is a financial wellness benefit for WECA apprentices. We announced our partnership with the Dave Ramsey-founded online financial wellness platform in January, 2021 to provide our apprentices with a sound foundation in personal finance management. This benefit is available to all WECA apprentices free of charge. Not yet signed up for SmartDollar? No worries -- scroll to the bottom of this article for instructions!

What is SmartDollar? SmartDollar is a step-by-step approach to handling money with the number-one authority in personal finance, Dave Ramsey. More than 4.5 million people have started on Dave's plan and taken control of their money, and you can too! SmartDollar will equip you to get out of debt, on a budget, and on your way to a strong financial foundation.

The average person pays off $9,405 of debt and saves $6,127 in the first twelve months, and you can too!

"This program is powerful yet simple to understand. The Baby Steps make understanding how to win with money easy! Dave's lessons are fun, informative, and incredibly encouraging. It really doesn't feel like I'm taking a financial course. It's more like learning finances from a good friend...or a financially savvy stand-up comedian! The online tools are fantastic as well, and I love being able to 'ASK DAVE' any question and do my budget online. Love it all!" - Recent participant

With SmartDollar, you'll learn how to...

  • Jump-start your money
  • Knock out debt
  • Secure your dream home
  • Retire in style
  • Demystify your credit score

How does SmartDollar work? With so many ways to engage in SmartDollar activities and content, SmartDollar Points have been designed to encourage users to establish true behavior change. (Check out the graph below for a quick rundown). The greater the importance and required time of each activity, the greater the amount of points that can be earned. For example, each Core Lesson video completed is worth 250 points. Completing a shorter Deep Dive video is worth 50 points. Tracking a transaction in EveryDollar is only worth 20 points, but users are encouraged to track all their financial transactions with no points limitations. These example activities are key for building the confidence you need to reach your financial goals.







 

Taking advantage of your free financial wellness benefit, SmartDollar, is easy!

To set up your account after accessing your dashboard, click either of the links shown as highlighted in the screenshot to the right of this paragraph. You'll be taken to a page with a SmartDollar enrollment link, where you will be able to set up immediate access to this important benefit.

Ready to get started?

Login to your GOWECA dashboard

Read more >>


Thursday, December 21, 2023   WECEF introduces the Frank Vellutini Memorial Apprenticeship Scholarship 2024



Frank Vellutini, longtime owner of Royal Electric and a WECA member since 1971, was actively involved with WECA and responsible for extraordinary contributions to WECA's growth and success for many years. Frank served on the WECA Board of Directors and the WECA Apprenticeship and Training Trust from 1992 to 2015. Royal Electric was one of the founding members that established the Western Electrical Contractors Education Foundation (WECEF). WECEF is pleased to offer a scholarship opportunity once again for students enrolled in a WECA Apprenticeship program. This scholarship is now offered in memory of Frank Vellutini.

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APPLICATION ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS TO PARTICIPATE:

  • Active WECA apprentice at time of application and award.
  • COMPLETION AND PASSING of at least 1 WECA apprenticeship semester course by December 31, 2023.
  • California - Available Discipline Points requirement as of December 31, 2023: Commercial Apprentice = 40; Residential and Low Voltage = 25.
  • Arizona and Utah - Available Discipline Points requirement as of December 31, 2023: Commercial Apprentice = 30.
  • No violation notifications of student conduct as outlined in the Apprentice Student Handbook within the past two years. 
  • Accurate completion of the scholarship application and answers to all questions, by the deadline of January 21, 2024. Late applications will not be considered. 
  • Accelerated apprentices are not eligible.
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AWARDS:

Depending on the quality and quantity of the applications, up to 15 recipients will be awarded. Awards are intended to offset costs of tools, books, and other educational expenses used in the electrical trade. 

  • Each monetary award will be between $500.00 and $1500.00.

The WECEF Board of Directors will review applications from eligible candidates. All applicants will be notified of the committee's final decision within 1 month of the application deadline, by email. 

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HOW TO APPLY:

Applications may only be submitted through your WECA Apprenticeship Learning Management System (Brightspace) account at learn.goweca.com. Login there to access further instructions and the scholarship application.

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Note: WECEF will be running a separate scholarship round for WECA Electrician Trainees in early 2024.


 
Read more >>


Thursday, December 21, 2023   Journeypersons; Electrician Trainees: Learn a new skillset in 2024 with Perfect Solar Installations

Journeypersons and Electrician Trainees: Learn a new skillset in the New Year with our 32 hour, self-paced "Perfect Solar Installations" course

This course is an acceptable elective towards the Electrician Trainee Program Certificate

Watch Bill Garr, WECA Lead Instructor for Electrician Trainee/Continuing Education Programs, walk you through a quick guide to crimping and assembling an MC4 connector, in this excerpt from the course:




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Perfect Solar Installations

Recommended Prerequisites: This course is suitable for journeypersons and all electrician trainees with the prerequisite experience. Prerequisites include completion of Get Wired 101-102 or equivalent, basic experience with series and parallel connections, series and parallel basic calculations, proficiency with the NEC (National Electrical Code), and at least 6 months of on-the-job experience.

This self-paced course introduces the electrician trainee and journeyperson to the basics of electrical code compliance when installing solar photovoltaic systems. The course will explore Article 690 - Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Systems of the NEC using an exciting set of 360° images, photographs, illustrations, and diagrams. A 360-interactive installation simulation, a solar connector wiring lab, and application of the requirements of Article 690 are also included.

Total class hours available: 32

Tuition fee: $269

Click here to learn more about and enroll in Perfect Solar Installations!


 

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Thursday, December 21, 2023   Snaps from this month at our San Diego Training Facility

Commercial Electrical and Low Voltage Apprentices in the lab

Instructor and Curriculum Developer Neil Pesarillo sent us some snaps from classes this month in San Diego. Enjoy this instructor's-eye-view!













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Thursday, December 21, 2023   WECA's Student Referral Service (SRS): Connect with a great employer today!

If you're looking for work as an Electrician Trainee in Kern County, you're in high demand!

If you're an unemployed Electrician Trainee residing in or near the Kern County area, we have excellent news for you -- WECA Member Contractors in your area are looking to employ you right now!

WECA's Student Referral Service is a conduit to introduce our current Electrician Trainees, Journeyperson Continuing Education students, and WECA Grads to our Member Contractors. It's meant for students or grads who are currently out of work, to help them find a great new position.

There is no charge to Student or Member to use our Student Referral Service. WECA's Student Referral Service provides additional customer service by having WECA staff provide hands-on referrals, taking some of that work off your plate.  

This is a free, no-obligation service. WECA's purpose in providing this service is to help our Member Contractors find the qualified workers they need. 

Three ways to sign up for the Student Referral Service today, with high demand in Kern County:

  1. Contact Trisha Hughes, Client Services ET/CE Specialist, at thughes@goweca.com
  2. Or call our office and ask to speak with her at 1-877-444-9322
  3. Or fill out the SRS sign-up form on our website.
Read more >>


Thursday, December 21, 2023   WECA Commercial Electrical Apprentices: are you taking full advantage of your benefits?

Learn more about United Healthcare's Member Assistance Program, available to you at NO EXTRA COST

United Healthcare's Member Assistance Program (aka Employee Assistance Program, or EAP) provides help you may need, at no extra cost, such as counseling sessions, legal consultations, mental health and wellness apps, and more. Review everything available to you below, and download this flyer for future access.



Download United Healthcare's Member Assistance Program flyer.
Read more >>


Thursday, December 21, 2023   WECA Commercial Apprentices: Refresh your knowledge of the WECA Dependent Coverage Payment Policy

WECA Commercial Electrical Apprentices with Dependent Coverage: Have you reviewed WECA's Dependent Coverage Payment Policy lately?

Here are some key reminders, and we encourage you to download and read the full policy below.

  • Your payment is due on the 25th of each month prior to the coverage month. 
  • The run date for all credit/debit cards is the same date every month; even on holidays and weekends. 
  • If we don't receive your payment on time (it's considered late as of the 26th each month), you'll be in jeopardy of immediate cancellation of your dependent coverage. 
  • If your credit or debit card is declined, we'll notify you and give you 3 business days to pay or be cancelled. 
Click here to download the updated version of WECA's Dependent Coverage Payment policy
 
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Thursday, December 21, 2023   Meet John Berkhoel, WECA's new Assistant Director of Apprenticeship Training and Facilities Manager


 

WECA’s new Assistant Director of Apprenticeship Training and Facilities Manager, John Berkhoel, lives by the motto “Find what you love to do and be the best at it.”

Case in point: after graduating from Universal Technical Institute (UTI)’s Automotive/Diesel program, receiving a bachelor’s degree from American Trinity University, and becoming an ASE Master Certified automotive technician, John worked as an automotive technician for Honda and Acura for 15 years and taught automotive classes at UTI for 18 years. While at UTI, John also served as an Education Manager, Facilities Director, and Admissions Representative, won an instructor of the year award twice, and worked with the State of California to bring the state’s Smog Certification Training Program to UTI’s Rancho Cucamonga campus. John further diversified his resume by working for Holt/Caterpillar of California as a Main Shop Supervisor in their Earthmoving division and as a Field Admissions Representative for WyoTech in Oregon before teaching automotive classes at Buena Park High School just prior to joining WECA.

John’s extensive experience in the trades will help him ensure that WECA’s Apprenticeship programs deliver the greatest student experiences and outcomes. 

“I want to ensure that WECA remains the gold standard of apprenticeship training, and I want our facilities to support and represent our training programs at the highest level,” says John.

John’s complementary educational and professional background have also helped him feel right at home at WECA.

“I love the culture and the team I get to work with here at WECA,” says John. “I love the industry we train for and that we train students in a skill that sets them up for a successful career. I’m sure it’s a game-changer for many of them.”

With over 30 years of working and teaching in the trades under his toolbelt, John has amassed plenty of wisdom. His advice for apprentices includes “Set goals, work hard, do good work, never give up, and do things with integrity. As you find your own success, don’t forget to help those who are coming up behind you. Oh, and always turn in your timecards on time!”

Outside of work, John’s interests are as varied as his educational and professional background.

“I enjoy getting out and riding my Harley-Davidson locally, mostly on the weekends and during the summer,” says John of his free time. “My friend and I like to do long road trips. We’ve covered 12 states in the last three summers. I also enjoy mountain biking when I can, and I also enjoy doing nothing.”

WECA is excited to have John on board to help with all of our Apprenticeship training and facilities initiatives. With six facilities across three states—and you never know where we might grow next—it’s no small job, but we know John is up to the task. 

Read more >>


Thursday, December 21, 2023   Electrician Trainee Certificate Program Students, it's time to think about 2024!

Plan your next courses now and set yourself up for continued success

No matter where you're at in your Electrician Trainee Program Certificate journey, taking a few minutes to plot your route to the destination (graduation and taking the State exam to become a certified electrician!) helps ensure a smooth ride without unexpected curves and twists.

Check out your Roadmap to an Electrician Trainee Program Certificate with WECA above (download and save at the link below) and plan the next phase of your journey!

Download the Roadmap to an Electrician Trainee Program Certificate from WECA.
 
Read more >>


Thursday, December 21, 2023   WECA Apprentices using your SmartDollar Financial Wellness Benefit: Taxes just got easier

File your taxes for FREE in 2024 with SmartDollar, your complimentary WECA Apprenticeship benefit!


 

Content courtesy of SmartDollar

The New Year is just a couple of weeks away and one of the first things that comes up is Tax Season. People start thinking about their taxes shortly after the first of the year and now you can file your taxes for free through SmartDollar.

Let us say that again. SmartDollar users can file their taxes for free! Breathe a little easier this coming tax season with Ramsey SmartTax resources, available to you through your dashboard.

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Not yet signed up for SmartDollar? No worries -- getting started is easy! Learn how below.

SmartDollar is a financial wellness benefit for WECA apprentices. We announced our partnership with the Dave Ramsey-founded online financial wellness platform in January, 2021 to provide our apprentices with a sound foundation in personal finance management. This benefit is available to all WECA apprentices free of charge. Not yet signed up for SmartDollar? No worries -- scroll to the bottom of this article for instructions!

What is SmartDollar? SmartDollar is a step-by-step approach to handling money with the number-one authority in personal finance, Dave Ramsey. More than 4.5 million people have started on Dave's plan and taken control of their money, and you can too! SmartDollar will equip you to get out of debt, on a budget, and on your way to a strong financial foundation.

The average person pays off $9,405 of debt and saves $6,127 in the first twelve months, and you can too!

"This program is powerful yet simple to understand. The Baby Steps make understanding how to win with money easy! Dave's lessons are fun, informative, and incredibly encouraging. It really doesn't feel like I'm taking a financial course. It's more like learning finances from a good friend...or a financially savvy stand-up comedian! The online tools are fantastic as well, and I love being able to 'ASK DAVE' any question and do my budget online. Love it all!" - Recent participant

With SmartDollar, you'll learn how to...

  • Jump-start your money
  • Knock out debt
  • Secure your dream home
  • Retire in style
  • Demystify your credit score
How does SmartDollar work? With so many ways to engage in SmartDollar activities and content, SmartDollar Points have been designed to encourage users to establish true behavior change. (Check out the graph below for a quick rundown). The greater the importance and required time of each activity, the greater the amount of points that can be earned. For example, each Core Lesson video completed is worth 250 points. Completing a shorter Deep Dive video is worth 50 points. Tracking a transaction in EveryDollar is only worth 20 points, but users are encouraged to track all their financial transactions with no points limitations. These example activities are key for building the confidence you need to reach your financial goals.






 

Taking advantage of your free financial wellness benefit, SmartDollar, is easy!

To set up your account after accessing your dashboard, click either of the links shown as highlighted in the screenshot to the right of this paragraph. You'll be taken to a page with a SmartDollar enrollment link, where you will be able to set up immediate access to this important benefit.

Ready to get started?

Login to your GOWECA dashboard




 
Read more >>


Tuesday, November 28, 2023   Meet WECA Northern California Commercial Electrical Apprentice and Army Veteran Teal LeBeau




 

WECA Northern California Commercial Electrical Apprentice Teal LeBeau’s path to WECA Apprenticeship was slightly unconventional. After serving in the United States Army’s Infantry branch as a specialist team leader and deploying to Iraq twice, Teal began an office job with an electrical engineering firm in 2008 before pivoting to other office jobs with electrical contracting companies over the years.

However, after working in the office for many years, Teal knew that going back into the field – like he was in the Army – was the right call for him.

“Working outside, being in the trenches, is where I am most comfortable,” says Teal. 

This led to him enrolling in WECA’s Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship Program and apprenticing for WECA Member Contactor Cabar Electric.

“As an infantryman, we trained constantly for combat deployments and primarily patrolled and reacted to contact,” says Teal. “I started my apprenticeship later in life, and because of how hard I had to push myself during military service, I knew I could push through the challenges that I face working in electrical construction.”

Though faced with challenges, Teal also enjoys the smaller, unexpected things about working in the commercial electrical industry – like being able to do electrical site work and underground work on venues like ballparks!

Teal reports that his apprenticeship has also offered more intangible rewards, ones that veterans will especially appreciate.

“Apprenticeship offers rewarding and challenging paths like the military offers. For me, it’s the closest thing I have found, as a civilian, that feels like being back in the military. My apprenticeship has helped give back my focus and discipline that drove me in the Army,” says Teal.

Thank you for your service and for being part of the WECA family, Teal! We are happy to read that your WECA apprenticeship feels like a natural fit for you and has given you back the focus and discipline that drove you in the Army. With your background, positive attitude, and determination, we know you will achieve great things with WECA and beyond.

Read more >>


Tuesday, November 28, 2023   WECA Launches Its First In-House-Developed Virtual Reality App for Apprenticeship








 

We're thrilled to announce the launch of our first original, WECA-developed virtual reality (VR) app for apprenticeship: A VR gaming app focused on Commercial Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS)! 

Fourth-year Commercial Electrical apprentices studying Commercial BESS now get to practice on a real-world project complete with interactive jobsite simulations in VR.

This launch is the first in a series of planned additions of immersive and advanced learning technology experiences in WECA’s electrical and low voltage training and apprenticeship programs. The initiative was proposed by WECA’s Apprenticeship Training Trust Board of Trustees, who first envisioned WECA’s ability to develop industry-leading advanced learning technologies focused on XR (extended reality) experiences to bring exciting, remote, and complex environments into WECA’s hands-on labs and classrooms.

WECA approached the project from a modern digital product design perspective; beginning with interviewing WECA member contractors to gather and analyze their specific training needs for electricians on Commercial BESS. After a dedicated process of exploring and evaluating different VR development providers and platforms, WECA chose to partner with Motive.IO. The Motive VR Training Platform allows organizations to create and control their VR training content, with no code required. 

In our new VR app, students reference the plans, see the actual scale and layout of a BESS container, and explore and interact with PV inverters, transformers and switchboards. Using a map and checklist, apprentices walk through the jobsite and inspect the equipment, connections, signage and more – everything needed for pre-commissioning approval. Along the way, they get quizzed with questions related to Code articles and site-specific requirements. Keeping things fun and gamified, there may even be a few spots that require the apprentice to discover problems and implement fixes in order to pass inspection! 

It’s a journey of immersive discovery for WECA’s apprentices--and it's going on now at all WECA apprenticeship training facilities!



 
Read more >>


Tuesday, November 28, 2023   WECA California Class of 2023 Graduate Spotlights

Skylar Grissom

For Skylar Grissom, Co-Valedictorian of the WECA SoCal Commercial Electrical Class of 2023, the decision to pursue a WECA apprenticeship was influenced by a powerful force: his family.

Five of Skylar's older brothers had previously embarked on the same journey through WECA's electrical program, serving as a testament to the program's excellence and career opportunities it provided...

One of the advantages Skylar highlights about the WECA program is the financial freedom it affords its graduates. The fact that there are no tuition fees to pay or student debt to deal with post-graduation has opened doors for Skylar and his brothers.

“I knew in high school I couldn't afford college, but once all my brothers were going through WECA apprenticeship, I learned you don't have to pay anything. So it really gave us an opportunity," says Skylar.

Read the rest of Skylar's spotlight here.

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Michael Johnston

Michael Johnston's journey in the WECA Electrician Trainee Certificate Program, from which he graduated as Salutatorian of his Southern California cohort, serves as an example of how seizing opportunities for a quality education can pave the way to a fulfilling career.

Michael's decision to enter the electrical field was serendipitous, initiated by getting a job with a supportive contractor. Michael's boss, having gone through the WECA program himself, recommended it to Michael, and sponsored his course tuition.

WECA's comprehensive Electrician Trainee Certificate program--most of which Michael was able to attend online while still attending intensive hands-on labs at a WECA training facility once a quarter--provided Michael with the knowledge and skills necessary for success.

Read the rest of Michael's spotlight here.

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Kenny Carlson

Kenny Carlson, Co-Valedictorian of our Southern California Commercial Electrical Class of 2023, gives a shout-out to two dedicated WECA instructors who made a difference in his learning experience: "I first started with Keith Smart, and after that, I had Ray Newton, and they both were great with teaching us in a real-world scenario and applications environment. The best thing that we worked on in the program would be all of the labs, being able to be hands-on and able to see how everything works on a smaller scale."

Read the rest of Kenny's spotlight here.

--------------------------------------------------

George Cook

George Cook is a graduate in the WECA Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship Class of 2023 in Northern California and works for WECA Member Contractor Rex Moore Group.

During his apprenticeship education, on WECA’s competency-based curriculum model, George’s favorite competency was motor controls.

“There was a lot of problem-solving logic behind it. So, I kind of enjoyed that. We would get to sit down, figure out the design of the circuit, then wire it up, including, you know, push buttons, motors, stops, starts, things like that," George says.

Read the rest of George's spotlight here.

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Brian Morita

2023 WECA Northern California Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship graduate Brian Morita had double the inspiration to pursue an electrical career, and credits his father (a former PG&E lineman) and his in-laws (owners of WECA Member Contractor Knights Electric) with sparking his interest.

"My dad taught me a lot of stuff about electrical when I was growing up, when we would work on the house together. But I never really thought about seeking it out as a career until after I met my in-laws," says Brian. "I liked the fact that the commercial electrical industry was something new, and I was looking for something to challenge myself," says Brian.

Read the rest of Brian's spotlight here.

--------------------------------------------------

D'Angelo Brady

Like many successful WECA graduates, 2023 WECA Northern California Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship graduate D'Angelo Brady comes from an electrical industry family. His father, Michael, is a WECA Member Contractor and owns Elk Grove, California-based Brady Electric.

At WECA, D'Angelo has enjoyed learning about PLCs (programmable logic controllers) and start-stop stations in the motor controls lab and says that learning about them has helped him in the field because the gas stations his company works on constantly use contactors and relays.

"We're using FE petrol systems, which are basically just big relay boards that control the gas pumps and the turbines inside the ground and pump the fuel into the dispenser. The motor controls lab helped me get a better understanding of contactors; being able to look at them on the board from a bird's eye perspective really helped me make sense of how the circuit really works in the field," says D'Angelo.

Read the rest of D'Angelo's spotlight here.

 

Read more >>


Tuesday, November 28, 2023   National Apprenticeship Week 2023 Recap

Video recap of National Apprenticeship Week 2023:



----------------------------------------------------------------------

Some more fun moments:





There was a full house at WECA's California headquarters in Sacramento/Rancho Cordova!



Low Voltage instructor John Arias gives attendees a tour of one of the low voltage labs at WECA's California headquarters in Sacramento/Rancho Cordova.



Across the hall, Low Voltage instructor Randy Rivera performs a demonstration as attendees look on.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

National Apprenticeship Week 2023 was one for the books! WECA hosted open houses in celebration at our California headquarters in Sacramento/Rancho Cordova and at our Fresno Training Facility, San Diego Training Facility, and Arizona headquarters in Phoenix.

At each open house, attendees toured WECA facilities, saw lab demos, met WECA instructors and staff, and learned more about our apprenticeship programs.

Our Sacramento/Rancho Cordova open house was hosted by Wendy Flanagan, WECA's Assistant Director of Apprenticeship, and Diane Trotter, WECA's Workforce Development Supervisor. Low Voltage instructors John Arias and Randy Rivera were on hand to give attendees tours of the labs and perform lab demos. Additionally, Raymond Carrillo from the U.S. Department of Labor and Hershel Baser, Jr. from the Division of Apprenticeship Standards addressed the audience and spoke positively about WECA's apprenticeship programs.

Meanwhile, our Fresno open house featured electrical demos by instructors George Leach and Jaron Stroud, while San Diego's open house and Phoenix's open house were wowed by demos from instructors Neil Pesarillo and Keith Smart, respectively.

The WECA Utah team also attended some celebrations of apprenticeship in that state.

We were pleased at the record turnout for our open houses this year, and enjoyed introducing California, Utah, and Arizona's future premier electricians to the wonderful world of WECA apprenticeship. We look forward to seeing them in the halls of our training facilities soon!



Instructor George Leach in Fresno educates attendees on the myriad benefits of WECA's apprenticeship programs.



Instructor Jaron Stroud shows attendees the spacious labs at WECA's Fresno Training Facility.



Instructor Neil Pesarillo addresses a large crowd of attendees in the lab at WECA's San Diego Training Facility.



Keith Smart, the Apprenticeship Manager and Instructor at WECA's Arizona headquarters in Phoenix, demonstrates the art of bending conduit to an attendee.



Back in the classroom, Keith continues an electrical demonstration for attendees.
Read more >>


Tuesday, November 28, 2023   Get Started on Your Electrician Certification Journey with Get Wired 101

Self-Paced and Instructor-Led Options Available


 

Are you interested in becoming a certified electrician, but need to pursue certification on your own time and at your own pace for reasons such as jobs, childcare, or other obligations?

WECA has an option for you: Self-Paced Get Wired 101 Fundamentals of Electrical Theory and Introduction to the National Electrical Code (NEC)!

Our Self-Paced Get Wired 101 course option is an entirely online, self-paced alternative version of our GetWired 101 course, which introduces fundamental electrical laws and theory and explains how the National Electrical Code (NEC) governs the installations of electrical wiring and equipment.

Watch our video above to learn more!

------------------------------------------------------

 

Are you interested in becoming a certified electrician, but prefer the more interactive nature of an instructor-led course?

Check out our Instructor-Led Get Wired 101 Fundamentals of Electrical Theory and Introduction to the National Electrical Code (NEC) courses!

Itching to get started? No need to wait -- click below to enroll in the next Instructor-Led Get Wired 101 class instance starting on January 4, 2024!

Click here to enroll in Instructor-Led Get Wired 101 beginning on January 4, 2024!



 
Read more >>


Tuesday, November 28, 2023   Apprentices: New Year, New Financial Goals? Save More Money and Live Debt-Free with SmartDollar

Not Yet Signed Up for SmartDollar? Learn How to Get Started Below


 

Content courtesy of SmartDollar

The holidays are here, and don't let holiday spending wreck your New Year's financial goals.

Be proactive about your paycheck. Managing your money shouldn't start on payday. Set your money goals ahead of time and be proactive with a plan for the cash you work so hard to earn! Ditch debt. Stash cash for emergencies. Gain confidence for your future!

-------------------------------------------------

Not yet signed up for SmartDollar? No worries -- getting started is easy! Learn how below.

SmartDollar is a financial wellness benefit for WECA apprentices.
 We announced our partnership with the Dave Ramsey-founded online financial wellness platform in January, 2021 to provide our apprentices with a sound foundation in personal finance management. This benefit is available to all WECA apprentices free of charge. Not yet signed up for SmartDollar? No worries -- scroll to the bottom of this article for instructions!

What is SmartDollar? SmartDollar is a step-by-step approach to handling money with the number-one authority in personal finance, Dave Ramsey. More than 4.5 million people have started on Dave's plan and taken control of their money, and you can too! SmartDollar will equip you to get out of debt, on a budget, and on your way to a strong financial foundation.

The average person pays off $9,405 of debt and saves $6,127 in the first twelve months, and you can too!

"This program is powerful yet simple to understand. The Baby Steps make understanding how to win with money easy! Dave's lessons are fun, informative, and incredibly encouraging. It really doesn't feel like I'm taking a financial course. It's more like learning finances from a good friend...or a financially savvy stand-up comedian! The online tools are fantastic as well, and I love being able to 'ASK DAVE' any question and do my budget online. Love it all!" - Recent participant

With SmartDollar, you'll learn how to...

  • Jump-start your money
  • Knock out debt
  • Secure your dream home
  • Retire in style
  • Demystify your credit score
How does SmartDollar work? With so many ways to engage in SmartDollar activities and content, SmartDollar Points have been designed to encourage users to establish true behavior change. (Check out the graph below for a quick rundown). The greater the importance and required time of each activity, the greater the amount of points that can be earned. For example, each Core Lesson video completed is worth 250 points. Completing a shorter Deep Dive video is worth 50 points. Tracking a transaction in EveryDollar is only worth 20 points, but users are encouraged to track all their financial transactions with no points limitations. These example activities are key for building the confidence you need to reach your financial goals.






 

Taking advantage of your free financial wellness benefit, SmartDollar, is easy!

To set up your account after accessing your dashboard, click either of the links shown as highlighted in the screenshot to the right of this paragraph. You'll be taken to a page with a SmartDollar enrollment link, where you will be able to set up immediate access to this important benefit.

Ready to get started?

Login to your GOWECA dashboard

 

 

Read more >>


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