Western Electrical Contractors Association, Inc.

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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."

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!

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.

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.


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. 

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.

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


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
Mail to: 
WECEF Scholarship Program
3695 Bleckeley Street
Mather Commerce Center

Rancho Cordova, CA 95655

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. 

WECA Board of Directors, Apprenticeship Training Trust Board of Trustees Meetings
Start Date/Time: Thursday, December 12, 2019 9:00 AM
End Date/Time: Thursday, December 12, 2019 12:00 PM
Recurring Event: Recurring Event On the Second Thursday of the month until 12/10/2020 (total 31 events)
Importance: Normal Priority
Board of Directors/ATC Combined Meeting
Location: WECA Conference Room- HQ/Sacramento
Owned by host On Thursday, May 17, 2018