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Thursday, October 14, 2021   WECA Political Update October 14, 2021

BESS Update Effective October 1, 2021, the Contractors State License Board will not enforce or implement its July 27, 2021, decision to limit BESS installations to A, B, or C-10 contractors. The Board stipulated to not implement its July 27, 2021, decision until any appeals brought by the California Solar Energy Industries Association, Inc. are resolved.

Chamber takes Aim at BBB The U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched a significant, six-figure paid advertising campaign in opposition to the multi-trillion reconciliation bill (BBB) that poses a significant threat to the American economy. The ads, which can be viewed here, target key Congressional districts and future rounds may include more districts. The first round of ads targeted districts represented by several democrats including Josh Harder (D-CA-10).They can be viewed here.

Last Call for 2021 Governor Newsom took final action on the bills from 2021:

In 2021, the Legislature sent 836 bills to Governor Newsom for consideration, nearly twice as many as last year during the state’s initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic but still fewer than have come across the governor’s desk in other past years covered in this report. As the pandemic continued into 2021, the Senate and Assembly both limited the number of bills that legislators could move to the other house, reducing the number of bills considered by the Legislature this year.

Of the 836 bills Governor Newsom considered this year, 313 were Senate bills and 523 were Assembly bills. In total, he signed 770 into law and vetoed 66 bills. This is a veto rate of 7.89% for his third year in office.

The number of vetoes for 2021 is the ninth lowest of all the years reviewed in this report, beginning with 1967. The three years with the lowest number of vetoed bills were under Governor Jerry Brown (1982, 1981, 1978). In 1982, he vetoed just 30 of the 1,674 bills he considered, representing a veto rate of 1.79%.

Five of the six years with the highest percentage of vetoed bills (2008, 2010, 2009, 2004, 1998) were with Republican governors and Democratic majorities in both legislative houses (the exception was Governor Davis in 2000).

Governor Schwarzenegger holds the record for the highest percentage of bills vetoed in a year, 35.17% in 2008.

The Governor signed 13 bills which included PLA references. The worst was AB 680 (Burke) which requires recipients of GHGRF grants to adopt a PLA for any construction that exceeds $1.0 million. You can see a list of all WECA bills below.

Raquel Terán Assumes Office as Arizona State Senator, Creates Vacancy in State House Raquel Terán (D) assumed office as the senator for District 30 in the Arizona state Senate on Sept. 28. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors appointed Terán (D) to the district on Sept. 15. The seat became vacant in August when former state Sen. Tony Navarrete (D) resigned after being arrested on suspicion of sexual conduct with a minor. Terán will serve the remainder of Navarrete’s term, which was set to expire in January 2023. At the time she was appointed, Terán was serving her second term in the Arizona House of Representatives. Terán ran for the District 30 seat in the state Senate in 2012 and was defeated 51% to 49% by incumbent Robert Meza in the Democratic primary. Terán’s appointment to the state Senate creates a vacancy in the state House. When a vacancy occurs in the Arizona legislature, the board of county supervisors must select a replacement. Arizona is one of seven states that fill state legislative vacancies through board of county commissioners appointment.

Guide to Federal Contractor Obligations under Recent COVID-19 Executive Orders The federal government’s complicated multi-pronged approach to implementing COVID-19 safeguards related to federal contractors has left many confused. Littler offers this brief guide to help contractors understand their obligations and the timelines for implementation. Here
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If California was made up of just these 35 counties, Gavin Newsom would have been recalled: “Without the Bay Area counties — some of which have the highest shares of ‘no recall’ votes — Newsom would no longer be in office” Story



Harris's poll numbers rise as Biden's fall, “Harris got off to a rocky start at the beginning of the administration, including a botched response on why she hadn’t traveled to the Mexican border, when she said she hadn’t been to Europe either. But her allies say Harris, whose difficult start provoked questions about her ability to be a future presidential candidate for the party, ‘has found her place’ in the White House.”

Harris Casts Ninth Tie-Breaking Vote as Vice President Vice President Kamala Harris (D) cast her ninth tie-breaking vote as the president of the Senate on Sept. 30. She voted to support a motion invoking cloture on the nomination of Rohit Chopra for director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after a 50-50 tie. Chopra was ultimately confirmed by a 50-48 vote. Six of Harris’ tie-breaking votes have been related to advancing or confirming presidential nominees. In the past 40 years, only Vice President Mike Pence (R) has cast more tie-breaking votes: 13. John Adams cast the first tie-breaking vote on July 18, 1789. In total, there have been 277 tie-breaking votes from 37 vice presidents. Twelve vice presidents, including Joe Biden (D) and Dan Quayle (R), never cast a tie-breaking vote during their time in office. [Ballotpedia]



California COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Expires - Now What? California’s latest supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL) law, SB 95, which requires certain employers to provide paid leave to employees for qualifying COVID-19-related reasons, expires on September 30, 2021. No legislation has been passed to extend it and there are no bills on the horizon to replace it. This has left employers wondering what, if any, obligations they have if employees are absent for reasons related to COVID-19. Story

Project Labor Agreements

AB 137 (Committee on Budget-) Provides for the implementation and administration of a new statewide program to incentivize the construction of new multifamily and single-family market-rate residential buildings as all-electric buildings or with energy storage systems. Provides for the implementation of a Solar Restitution Program, to be administered by the Contractor State License Board and using one-time resources appropriated by the Legislature. The program would provide restitution to homeowners who were defrauded by licensed or unlicensed solar installers after January 1, 2016. It would cap awards to individuals at $40,000 and would require the board to deduct the amount the consumer recovered from other sources from the amount payable upon the consumer’s claim. Authorizes the Department of General Services to use the progressive design-build procurement process for up to three public works projects (with the usual SBCTC language). WECA position: Oppose

AB 143 (Committee on Budget-) Authorizes the Judicial Council to use a design-build procurement process in contracting and procuring public works projects and would authorize the Judicial Council to award contracts using either the best value or low bid selection method for all projects (with the usual SBCTC language) WECA position: Oppose

AB 271 (Rivas, Robert -D) AB 271 permits the Santa Clara Valley Water District to award contracts on a best value basis for any work of the Anderson Dam project. The bill would require the contractor to comply with the State's STWF mandates unless the District has a PLA. WECA position: OUA

AB 680 (Burke-D) Enacts the California Jobs Plan Act of 2021 which requires the Labor and Workforce Development Agency to update, by July 1, 2025, the funding guidelines for administering agencies to ensure that all applicants to grant programs funded by the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) meet fair and responsible employer standards and provide inclusive procurement policies. Construction projects over one million dollars ($1,000,000) must be built with a project labor agreement (PLA). WECA position: Oppose

AB 846 (Low-D) Authorizes job order contracting (JOC) for community college districts in a manner similar to that authorized for school districts. Committee staff notes that language in AB 846 requiring the use of a skilled and trained workforce is redundant, given the requirement that a PLA is required on all work before a community college or school districts can use JOC. WECA position: OUA

AB 1174 (Grayson-D) Makes changes to the streamlined, ministerial process created by SB 35 (Wiener, Chapter 366, Statutes of 2017). WECA position: SIA

SB 7 (Atkins-D) This bill reenacts the Jobs and Economic Improvement Through Environmental Leadership Act of 2011 (Act), and expands the Act’s eligibility to include smaller housing projects, until January 1, 2026. The bill would exempt PLA projects from skilled and trained workforce mandates, the requirement to submit certified payroll records, and prohibit the State Labor Commissioner from enforcing the labor code. Requires prevailing wages and apprentices on private projects authorized by the bill. WECA position: Oppose

SB 44 (Allen-D) Establishes expedited administrative and judicial review of environmental review and approvals granted for “environmental leadership transit projects” that meet specified requirements. The bill would exempt PLA projects from skilled and trained workforce mandates, the requirement to submit certified payroll records, and prohibit the State Labor Commissioner from enforcing the labor code. Requires prevailing wages and apprentices on private projects authorized by the bill. WECA position: Oppose

SB 51 (Durazo-D) Makes changes to the Roberti Act (the Act) to encourage the sale of homes owned by Caltrans, located within the State Route (SR) 710 corridor in the El Sereno neighborhood of the City of Los Angeles (Los Angeles), for low- and moderate-income rental housing. Exempts PLA projects from CPRs and STWF. Requires prevailing wages and apprentices on private projects authorized by the bill. WECA position: Oppose

SB 144 (Portantino-D) Makes changes to the Film and TV Tax Credit administered by the California Film Commission (CFC), housed within the Governor’s Office of Business and Development (GO-Biz). Requires that the operation and maintenance of the soundstage must be performed by a workforce paid at least the prevailing rate that is either directly or through a payroll company employed by the soundstage owner or lessee; or a skilled and trained workforce, as defined in the Public Contract Code Chapter 2.9 (beginning with section 2600), if services are provided by a third-party vendor. WECA position: Oppose

SB 162 (Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review-) Establishes the Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF) Program, to be administered by the Workforce Services Branch at the Employment Development Department. The program shall be overseen by the Labor and Workforce Development Agency, Office of Planning and Research and the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, referred to as the Inter-Agency Leadership Team. Requires the program to provide financial support to establish highroad transition collaboratives to design region and industry specific economic recovery and transition strategies. The Inter-Agency Leadership Team shall award planning grants on a competitive basis to each region. The plans must address economic diversification, industry planning, workforce development and safety net programs. The plans must prioritize high-quality jobs and equitable access to them and emphasize the development of sustainable industries. Provides that the Inter-Agency Leadership Team shall award competitive grants to implement the plans. Grant recipients must align with regional workforce needs by linking with high road training partnerships or high road construction career training programs. The implementation grants shall meet all of the following requirements:

(A) Support work prioritized through the high road transition collaborative planning process with the high road intent of this program.

(B) Demonstrate support of the regional intermediary and alignment with the high road transition collaborative plan.

(C) Support labor standards where applicable, such as prevailing wage, project labor agreements, or community workforce agreements.

SB 381 (Portantino-D) This bill makes changes to the Roberti Act to encourage the sale of homes owned by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) for low- and moderate-income housing in the State Route 710 corridor in South Pasadena. Provides that, as a condition of sale of the property to a housing-related entity, the entity shall provide a commitment that if the entirety of the project is not a public work for which prevailing wages must be paid, all construction workers, except apprentices, employed on the project will be paid at least the general prevailing rate of per diem wages for the type of work and geographic area. For those portions of a project that are not a public work, the housing-related entity shall ensure that the prevailing wage requirement is included in all contracts for the performance of all construction work. Bars the DLSE from labor code enforcement on PLA jobs and relieves contractors from CPRs. WECA position: Oppose

SB 626 (Dodd-D) This bill would authorize DWR to use the design-build and CM/GC processes for project delivery for facilities of the State Water Project, excluding through Delta conveyance. The bill would exempt PLA projects from skilled and trained workforce mandates. WECA position: Oppose

APM/DB/CMaR

AB 36 (Gallagher-R) Authorizes the Paradise Irrigation District and the Town of Paradise to use the design-build contracting process. WECA position: Watch

Apprenticeship

AB 340 (Ward-D) This measure conforms state law to federal law; thereby allowing taxpayers the ability to benefit for expenses related to eligible apprenticeship programs and payments on principal or interest of a qualified education loan.

AB 565 (Lackey-R) This bill would add the director of the State Department of Social Services as a member of IACA. It would require IACA to create a subcommittee to study and report on issues related to the participation of homeless youth and foster youth, as defined, in apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships.

AB 643 (Ramos-D) This bill would require a school district or school to notify each apprenticeship program in the same county as the school district or school of a career or college fair it is planning to hold. WECA position: Watch

SB 779 (Becker-D) SB 779 amends the definition of “earn and learn” programs, and specifically, the definition of “transitional and subsidized jobs” under the California Workforce and Innovation Opportunity Act. This bill further adds to the California Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act a definition of “employment social enterprise” and clarifies that for purposes of the Act the definition of “worker cooperative” has the same meaning as it does in Section 12253.5 of the Corporations Code. WECA position: Watch

Business Issues

SB 255 (Portantino-D) Would authorize a specific association of employers to offer a large group health care service plan contract or large group health insurance policy consistent with ERISA if certain requirements are met WECA position: Watch

SB 718 (Bates-R) Would authorize a specific association of employers to offer a large group health care service plan contract or large group health insurance policy consistent with ERISA if certain requirements are met WECA position: Watch

SB 727 (Leyva-D) Extends the joint liability of a direct contractor on a private construction project to include civil penalties and liquidated damages associated with unpaid wages, fringe benefits, or contributions to labor trust funds. Under existing law, that joint liability is limited to unpaid amounts only. The bill also establishes a mechanism for direct contractors to avoid liability for penalties and liquidated damages by showing that the underlying violation has been fully abated. Requires any lower-tier subcontractors to provide the direct contractor award information that includes the project name, name, and address of the subcontractor, the contractor with whom the subcontractor is under contract, anticipated start date, duration, and estimated journeymen and apprentice hours.

SB 791 (Cortese-D) This bill creates the Surplus Land Unit within the state Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), to facilitate the development of housing on local surplus property. WECA position: Watch

Construction Practices

AB 930 (Levine-D) Awards reasonable attorney’s fees and costs to an excavator that is found not liable for damaging a subsurface installation because of errors or omissions by the operator of the installation.

SB 297 (Durazo-D) enacts the Wade Kilpatrick Gas Safety and Workforce Adequacy Act of 2021. The bill would prescribe a civil penalty of up to $100,000 to be imposed on an operator or excavator, as specified, who knowingly and willfully violates provisions relating to excavations and subsurface installations and damages a gas or hazardous liquid pipeline subsurface installation in a way that results in the escape of any flammable, toxic, or corrosive gas or liquid. WECA position: Watch

EVC

AB 970 (McCarty-D) Establishes specific time frames in which local agencies must approve permits for electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.

SB 68 (Becker-D) require the Energy Commission to gather or develop, and publish on its internet website, guidance and best practices to help building owners, the construction industry, and local governments overcome barriers to electrification of buildings and installation of electric vehicle charging equipment.

Housing

SB 10 (Wiener-D) Authorizes a city or county to pass an ordinance that is not subject to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to zone any parcel for up to ten units of residential density if the parcel is located in a transit-rich area or an urban infill site.

SB 330 (Durazo-D) requires the governing board of the Los Angeles Community College District to develop and implement a pilot program to provide affordable housing to students or employees of the Los Angeles Community College District.

Labor Law

AB 1003 (Gonzalez, Lorena-D) Makes the intentional theft of wages, gratuities, or other compensation in an amount greater than $950 from any one employee or independent contractor, or $2,350, in aggregate, from more than two or more employees or independent contractors, in any 12 consecutive month period, punishable as grand theft, an alternate felony/misdemeanor.

AB 1023 (Flora-R) Makes a contractor or subcontractor who fails to furnish payroll records relating to its employees in the manner specified liable for a penalty of $100 per day, as specified, not to exceed $5,000 per project, to be deposited into the State Public Works Enforcement Fund. Prohibits the Labor Commissioner from levying penalties until 14 days after the deadline for furnishing records and requires that these penalties accrue to the actual contractor or subcontractor that failed to furnish those records. WECA position: Oppose

SB 331 (Leyva-D) prohibits the use of non-disclosure agreements to settle employment and housing-related legal claims involving unlawful harassment, discrimination, or related retaliation of any kind, with limited exceptions when requested by the complainant. The bill also prohibits the inclusion, in an employment severance agreement, of terms that restrict the separated employee’s ability to discuss unlawful conduct at their former workplace, unless the separated employee agrees to those terms under specified conditions designed to safeguard the separated employee’s rights.

SB 606 (Gonzalez-D) This bill expands the authority of Cal/OSHA to issue citations, require abatement, and seek court orders to address violations of workplace safety laws. The bill also establishes a presumption of unlawful retaliation if an employer takes adverse action against an employee within 90 days of when that employee tries to address unsafe working conditions. WECA position: Oppose

SB 657 (Ochoa Bogh-R) This bill allows employers, in any instance the employer is required to physically post information, to additionally distribute that information to employees by email with the document or documents attached. Additionally, this bill clarifies that email distribution or relevant documents pursuant to the proposed statute does not alter the employer’s obligation to physically display the required posting. WECA position: Support

Licensure

AB 246 (Quirk-D) This bill would add illegal dumping to the list of violations that constitute a cause for disciplinary action against a contractor by the CSLB. WECA position: Support

AB 569 (Grayson-D) Increases the maximum civil penalty amounts that can be assessed against licensed contractors for violations of the Contractors State License Law consistent with changes in the Consumer Price Index. Authorizes the Contractors State License Board to issue a Letter of Admonishment in lieu of a citation for multiple violations at a time. WECA position: Watch

AB 830 (Flora-R) Makes minor changes to CSLB law related to qualifyer WECA position: Watch

SB 607 (Min-D) Increases, beginning January 1, 2023, the amount required for a contractor’s bond for licensure from $15,000 to $25,000

PAGA

SB 646 (Hertzberg-D) Prohibits janitorial employees working under a collective bargaining agreement, containing specified provisions, from the right to bring an action under the labor code’s private attorneys general act (PAGA). WECA position: Watch

SES

AB 1124 (Friedman-D) Revises the definition of "solar energy system" to clarify that it must be designed to serve one utility retail customer on the same property, more than one utility retail customer on the same property, one utility retail customer on the same, adjacent, or contiguous properties, or more than one utility retail customer on the same, adjacent or contiguous properties, and not be designed for procurement of electricity by an electric utility.

Clarifies that:

a structural design feature of a solar energy system includes elevated solar support structures, including the aboveground superstructure and associated foundation elements that support the solar collectors or other solar energy devices, as specified.

that a residential permit fee applies to an application for a solar energy system that is installed on the property of a single- or two-family dwelling.

that a commercial permit fee applies to an application for a commercial solar energy system that includes, but is not limited to, a solar energy system that is installed on the property of multifamily housing that has more than two family dwellings.

that nothing in this bill or existing law governing permit fees for solar energy systems precludes a city, county, city and county, or charter city from conducting a plan check to confirm the safety of a solar energy system pursuant to specified existing law and the California Building Standards Code

WECA position: Watch

STWF

AB 525 (Chiu-D) Requires the California Energy Commission (CEC) to develop a strategic plan by December 31, 2022, for offshore wind development off the California Coast. The development of the strategic plan regarding workforce development shall include consultation with representatives of key labor organizations and apprenticeship programs that would be involved in dispatching and training the construction workforce. The plan must include an analysis of the workforce development needs of the California offshore wind energy industry, including occupational safety requirements, and the need to require the use of a skilled and trained workforce to perform all work. The assessment shall also analyze work, and the need for the Division of Apprenticeship Standards to develop a curriculum for in-person classroom and laboratory advanced safety training for workers. It will include recommendations for workforce standards for offshore wind energy facilities and associated infrastructure, including, but not limited to, prevailing wage, skilled and trained workforce, apprenticeship, local hiring, and targeted hiring standards, that ensure sustained and equitable economic development benefits. WECA position: Watch

AB 692 (Waldron-R) Extends the deadline to liquidate grant funds by five years for the Lake Wohlford Dam project from June 30, 2023, to June 30, 2028. Conditions the extension for liquidation of funds on the City of Escondido using a skilled and trained workforce for the Lake Wohlford Dam project. 
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Thursday, September 30, 2021   WECA Political Update September 30, 2021

Vaccine Mandate--What We Know:

On September 9th, President Biden announced a 6-prong plan to fight COVID-19 (available here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/covidplan/). Most important to California’s contractor community is the plan’s first prong (“Vaccinating the Unvaccinated”), which pushes COVID-19 vaccines via two mechanisms:

1.     Federal Emergency Regulation: The Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) will publish an emergency regulation compelling a “soft” vaccination mandate for all employers with over 100 employees. Experts expect the rule to require employees to get vaccinated or produce a negative test before working every week.

Procedurally, California employers can expect a slight delay before this one becomes applicable. After OSHA passes the federal emergency regulation (the draft text isn’t even public yet), federal law compels Cal/OSHA to enact an equivalent or more stringent standard within 30 days. And even after Cal/OSHA passes that standard, it will likely allow employers 60 days or so to get their workforce into compliance.

2.     Vaccine Mandate for Federal Contractors: All we know at this point is that the federal government will begin adding language to contracts signed or extended after October 15th to compel vaccination (without a testing option) for federal contractors. The specific language to be added is supposed to be drafted by October 8th and is not yet public. The language, when released, is expected to allow federal contractors until December 8th to come into compliance – but, again, that draft contract provision is not yet public.

For both of these mechanisms, employers should keep a few caveats in mind. First – medical and religious exemptions will need to be made for individual employees, meaning that legal and HR will need to be ready to process those issues as the mandates go into effect. Second – legal challenges may delay their effect – particularly for the federal emergency regulation, which one state (Arizona) has already filed suit to challenge. Though some legal experts believe that the vaccine mandate is within OSHA’s authority, that doesn’t mean that a legal challenge may not delay its application considerably – depending on if a district court judge grants an injunction.
 
California’s COVID-19 Workplace Regulation?

Experts expect California’s present COVID-19 emergency regulation to be re-adopted in December for the final time (in roughly its current form – available here: https://www.dir.ca.gov/oshsb/documents/Jun172021-COVID-19-Prevention-Emergency-txtbrdconsider-Readoption.pdf). Then, in spring of 2022, it will either expire or be turned into a permanent regulation.
 
On September 23rd, 2021, Cal/OSHA hosted an advisory committee comprised of business leaders, including CalChamber, labor leaders, public health officials, and other stakeholders, to discuss what a permanent regulation might look like. Notably, this discussion was intended only to help shape a draft of what the Cal/OSHA Standards Board might vote to approve next year and did not represent a commitment from the participants to support a permanent regulation. The draft text for discussion is available here (https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/DoshReg/covid-19-emergency-standards/), but this is was only a draft and both labor and business leaders expressed disagreement with various provisions, so we can expect some changes from Cal/OSHA in whatever eventually goes to the Standards Board next year.

But where will the vaccine mandate fit in California’s regulation? Though we don’t have the text yet, it appears likely that Cal/OSHA will adopt a second emergency regulation re: COVID-19 (focused on vaccines) to comply with the federal requirement to adopt an equivalent standard to President Biden’s vaccine mandate within 30 days.

What About Boosters? How Will They Fit into the Federal Regulation or California’s Next Regulatory Text?

At this point, it isn’t clear. President Biden announced booster shots as part of his six-prong plan, but uncertainty about who should get them and when appears to be prevalent. Notably, an advisory body to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended boosters only for limited population segments (elderly or vulnerable). Still, the CDC director recently overruled the panel and supported boosters for workers in high-risk workplaces as well. That means boosters will be available soon – but it isn’t clear exactly when the federal regulation will mandate they be taken to qualify as fully vaccinated.
 
In short – California employers have a lot to watch in the coming months. Keep one eye on federal OSHA and Cal/OSHA to ensure you stay ahead of workplace changes.
 
 
5 Tips to Choose the Right PLA Ha, made you look! The National Maintenance Agreements Policy Committee, Inc. (NMAPC) negotiates and administers a series of collective bargaining agreements known as the National Maintenance Agreements (NMAs). 1,800+ contractor companies that employ members of 14 building trades international unions use NMAs. They believe “implementing a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) … can make big strides in safety and efficiency, leading to successful project completion and increased owner satisfaction.” You can read their explanation here. (I’m sending you the PowerPoint).

Some Takeaways from September

·   Biden’s Approval Rating Takes a Big Dip: The President’s overall approval rating dipped below the 50% mark this month. The latest leaves him at 43% approval and 53% disapproval in a recent Gallup poll.

·   Retirement Watch: Two-term Congressman Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH-16) announced he would not seek reelection. Rep. Gonzalez was one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach President Trump and is the first of the 10 to announce his retirement.

·   Endorsement Corner: Former President Trump made a series of noteworthy endorsements this month, including:
o   Republican Candidate Harriet Hageman, the primary challenger to incumbent Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY-AL)

o   Joe Kent, the primary challenger to incumbent Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA-03)

o   Georgia Senate Candidate Herschel Walker (R)

o   Sean Parnell, Republican candidate for the open Pennsylvania Senate seat

o   Michigan state Rep. Steve Carra (R), who is challenging incumbent Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI-06)

o   Anna Paulina Luna, Republican candidate for the open FL-13 seat and the Republican nominee for the same seat in 2020

·   Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) announced he is running for reelection. This effectively moves Iowa into a safer position.

·   California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) survived a recall election earlier this month. 

·   Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA-37) is leaving Congress to run for mayor of Los Angeles.

·   California made universal mail-in voting permanent. As a result, all registered, active voters will receive a mailed ballot for elections going forward.

·   Gail Huff Brown (R), the wife of former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), filed to run against incumbent Democrat Chris Pappas in NH-01.

·   Former Sen. Dean Heller (D-NV) launched a bid for the state’s governorship. 

·   Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) plans to enter the Texas governor’s race. Pundits expect him to announce later this year formally.

Musical Chairs – San Francisco The media has reported that San Francisco Mayor London Breed nominated Assemblymember David Chiu to be San Francisco’s new city attorney, setting off a scramble for Chiu’s seat. Politico reports, “the long-anticipated announcement opens one of San Francisco’s two Assembly seats. Candidates had begun positioning for the post in the months since Breed nominated former City Attorney Dennis Herrera to lead the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. In profoundly liberal San Francisco, a Democrat will claim Chiu’s seat; the only question is which one. Former San Francisco Supervisor David Campos declared he would run should Chiu step aside, as did Supervisor Matt Haney.

One factor to consider: if Haney wins, Breed will appoint his supervisor replacement, which could mean the relatively centrist mayor picking a moderate rather than a farther-left supervisor. Chiu’s departure also means the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee, which Chiu currently leads, will get a new chair — an influential position with housing affordability sitting atop Sacramento’s agenda.”

Homelessness Solution? You Decide Governor Newsom signed a package of bills to address homelessness and housing affordability, issues the governor described as “the two biggest pre-existing conditions” the state was experiencing before the Covid-19 pandemic, Politico reports.
“Nothing like the homelessness crisis exists anywhere in the United States like it exists and persists here in the state of California,” Newsom said at a board-and-care facility run by Los Angeles County on the Wednesday bill-signing event.

     AB 1220 by Assemblymember Luz Rivas (D-North Hollywood) creates the new California Interagency Council on Homelessness, which is charged with reviewing and approving homelessness plans submitted by cities and counties to take advantage of state funding.

·        AB 27, also by Rivas, would help identify K-12 students experiencing homelessness and connect them to services.

·        AB 977 by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D-Encino) requires entities that receive funding from state homeless programs to report specified data to the state, allowing policymakers to track better and evaluate the effectiveness of the spending.

·        AB 362 by Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) requires cities and counties to establish a homeless shelter inspection program

·        AB 816 by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) directs National Housing Trust Fund monies to specified homeless uses

·        AB 1443 by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) permits counties to develop training and procedures for taking people into custody for involuntary mental health detention;

·        SB 400 by Sen. Brian Jones (R-Santee) requires local educational agencies to identify youths experiencing homelessness.

I can sense the collective sigh of relief already from the homeless.

New Faces at CSLB The Governor has made the following appointments to the Contractors’ State License Board:
 
·        Cynthia Rich, of Gold River – Public Seat. Rich has been Sole Proprietor of Cynthia L. Rich, Psy.D. since 2015. Rich was Assistant Dean for the Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Davis, from 1989 to 1998. She was Vice President of Marketing at the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce from 1986 to 1989. Rich was Advertising Manager at the Sacramento Municipal Utility District from 1977 to 1986. She earned a Master of Arts degree in English from California State University, Sacramento, a Master of Arts degree in Psychology from Alliant International University, and a Doctor of Clinical Psychology degree from Alliant International University. She is a member of the California Psychological Association and the Redwood Psychological Association. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Rich is a Democrat.

·        Steve Panelli, of San Mateo – Building Official. Panelli has been a Chief Plumbing Inspector at the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection since 2009. He was Senior Plumbing Inspector at the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection from 2005 to 2009, where he was District Plumbing Inspector from 2000 to 2005. Panelli is a member of the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials Board of Directors and Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 38. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Panelli is registered without party preference.
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Wednesday, September 29, 2021   Announcing the Winner of our 20-21 Lab Donation Scoreboard: Milwaukee Tool!

Thank you to Milwaukee Tool and all the generous donors on the scoreboard, who all help make WECA's comprehensive, state-of-the-art education possible!





Congratulations to Milwaukee Tool for topping our 20-21 Lab Donation Scoreboard with their generous contribution of $24,740 over the course of our last fiscal year!

We thank all of the generous donors who made it onto our 20-21 Lab Donation Scoreboard! We could not do what we do here at WECA without the help of our dedicated Member Contractors, Industry Partners, and donors. They help make our state-of-the-art labs and comprehensive, hands-on education the best in the American West!

The contribution goal for 2020-21 was $20,000, and our donors handily exceeded that (topping out at $35,940)! Thank you, all--we're humbled by your generosity!

"We thank you for your continued annual support. Every dollar and item donated directly contributes to the next generation of premier electricians in California and Arizona and low voltage technicians in California," says Jimmie Slemp, WECA's lead instructor and lab facilities manager. "Now that we're safely back in the classrooms and labs, we're utilizing these donations. It really adds that element of 'hands-on learning' to the collective educational experience!"

Thank you again, everyone! And if you'd like to be the first to get on the 21-22 Lab Donation Scoreboard and contribute to WECA's delivery of premier industry education, watch this space for the launch of our 21-22 Scoreboard and future updates!
Read more >>


Wednesday, September 29, 2021   Instructor Spotlight: Bill Garr

New to the Electrician Trainee/Continuing Education Lead Instructor position, but not to WECA!



At WECA, we pride ourselves on providing a comprehensive electrical industry education—thanks in no small part to our talented, knowledgeable, and passionate instructors and staff. And we think that Bill Garr—third-generation electrician, Santa Rosa native, and one of our many talented GetWired! Electrician Trainee program online and lab instructors before recently coming on board full-time as Lead Instructor for that program—perfectly embodies these sentiments.

“I was highly interested in teaching for a long time due to the fact that WECA has the facilities and resources to reach out to the industry and instruct with great teachers, coupled with how awe-inspiring working with raw energy and construction truly is,” says Garr.

Garr states that as a teacher, he loves that he “gets to interact with and show my passion and excitement for electrical theory, construction and science; reach multiple people at any given time online and in the labs, and that having the classes taught online coupled with the availability of the hands-on labs makes our curriculum available for everyone on a personal basis.”

That, and Garr simply just loves “teaching electrical theory and code, which leads to helping people be better at what they do. My goal is to educate and inspire electricians, so that we leave and build a better place for all.”

It is, after all, in his blood.

“My grandfather and father were both electricians,” says Garr. “I first attended community college for general education credits toward an AA, and then I was a caretaker to my grandparents along with my father for a few years. After that, I joined WECA, took all the required Electrician Trainee (ET) courses, and received my Electrician Trainee program certificate with WECA.”

All this—and more!—made Garr a natural fit for the Lead Instructor position for our GetWired! Program, which serves Electrician Trainees and Journeyperson electricians pursuing continuing education. Garr lists two crucial traits for electricians—curious and always learning—in his personal philosophy. But he also espouses the importance of being humble, respectful, honest, adventurous, and thankful for all opportunities.

“I am very happy to have Bill continue with the WECA team,” says Galen Eckert, WECA’s Electrician Trainee/Continuing Education Online Education Manager (and a WECA alumni himself!). “Bill’s experience and success made him an instant fit to step into the Lead Instructor position. He has a very upbeat teaching style that both me and the students enjoy. I often refer to Bill as a ‘fan favorite’ regarding the consistent positive feedback I receive from his current and former students. I look forward to seeing Bill work with the GetWired! team in a full-time capacity! His positive energy and dedication to teaching will help greatly as our program expands and adapts to the future!”

What’s more—Garr’s promotion is ushering in a new chapter of his life, with his relocation to Rancho Cordova meaning that he’s leaving his childhood home and moving up in his career.

“With this new position, I am honored to be taking a leadership position so I can leave the electrical education world better than I found it. I enjoy teaching and inspiring people to become more than what they are. I hope to bring a new sense of teaching and learning to this environment and open more opportunities for individuals in their electrical careers,” says Garr.

We’re thrilled to have you as the new Lead Instructor for our GetWired! Electrician Trainee and Continuing Ed. programs, Bill! And we’re also honored you’ve chosen WECA throughout your life—from getting your education here to helping develop the next generation of electricians by teaching here. We look forward to seeing all that you accomplish in your new role, and the lives you’ll positively impact through it!
Read more >>


Wednesday, September 29, 2021   Course Spotlight: Job Costs and Estimating Basics

Perfect for project engineers and other non-electrician construction professionals!

The final course in the Project Engineer to Project Manager (PE to PM) program. Don't miss out--enroll in the upcoming November class!



Job Costs and Estimating Basics is a hybrid online instructor-led, self-paced introduction to estimating job costs, materials and lab labor for electrical installations. After your initial class meeting with an instructor, you’ll work on your own and complete self-paced assignments for small jobs, Low Voltage tenant improvements, and a job takeover estimate. This course is the 4th of 5 in the Project Engineer to Project Manager (PE to PM) Path for non-electrician construction professionals. It's also great for journeyperson electrician continuing education!

Total class hours available: 16

Standard Tuition Fee: $199

If you're ready to take this course, click here to learn more and enroll! Otherwise, keep reading to learn more about the PE to PM Path and the order in which WECA recommends you complete the program.

Our contractors asked, and WECA delivered.

Introducing our new program of essential training for non-electrician construction professionals:

The WECA Project Engineer to Project Manager
(PE to PM) Program

Get acquainted with a quick video:

The WECA Project Engineer to Project Manager (PE to PM) Program is here.

And now learn a whole lot more:



The WECA Project Engineer to Project Manager (PE to PM) Program

Providing training in electrical concepts, code, and best practices for non-electrician construction professionals, WECA's PE to PM Program was designed and developed in close consultation with our contractors. It's designed to give construction professionals--including Project Engineers who have a background in construction but little or no electrician-specific training--the electrical fundamentals and crucial concepts they need to talk the talk and walk the walk on your projects. 

The PE to PM Training Path is made up of five online courses which should be taken in the following order:

1. Practical Electrical Theory is an online, self-paced introduction to electrical theory, laws, and circuits. Course topics include:
  • Atomic Theory
  • Ohm’s Law
  • Series Circuits
  • Parallel Circuits
Available now! Learn more and enroll here

2. Subject Indexing and Code is an online, self-paced course in which students will learn how to effectively navigate and answer code-related questions in the National Electrical Code (NEC 2017) book and complete the calculations needed for electrical installations. Course topics include:
  • NEC Subject Indexing
  • Conductor Sizing and Protection
  • Raceway, Box Fill, and Conduit Fill Calculations
  • Service Sizing, Clearances, and Terminations
  • Wiring Methods, Special Equipment and Occupancies
  • Grounding and Bonding
  • Motors
  • General Equipment, Lighting and Panelboards
.
Available now! Learn more and enroll here

3. Electrical Wiring Methods and Installations is an online, self-paced introduction to the most used wiring methods with emphasis on proper installation and correctly applying electrical code. Course topics include:
  • Installation basics
  • National electrical code
  • Workmanship standards
  • Identification of methods


Available now! Learn more and enroll here

4. Job Costs and Estimating Basics is an online hybrid (a scheduled instructor-led introduction and otherwise self-paced) course which introduces estimating job costs, material and labor for electrical installations. Course topics include:
  • Material estimations
  • Labor estimations
  • Voltage drop as applied to installation
  • Total job cost analysis
Available now! Learn more and enroll here
?
5. Commercial Electrical Blueprint Reading is an online, scheduled, instructor-led course in which students learn how to coordinate cut sheets, submittals, the NEC and more with digital blueprints to plan electrical installation for commercial construction from the ground up.

Available now! Learn more and enroll here

 
FAQs

Q: Is the PE to PM Program for Project Engineers only?
A: Nope! Any construction industry professional (for instance, General Contractors, Construction Managers, etc.) who requires a grounding in electrical concepts, the National Electric Code, and best practices on the electrical job site can benefit from this program. 

Q: Is the PE to PM Program appropriate for Electrician Trainees?
A: No--Electrician Trainees should take the WECA Path to the Electrician Trainee Program Certificate, including the whole GetWired! series, in order to make sure they are getting the thorough electrical education and amount of education hours needed to qualify for the State of CA electrician certification exam.

Q: Does the WECA discount structure for Member Contractors and their employees apply to the PE to PM program?
A: Yes, discounts on these classes are available to WECA Member Contractors and their employees as a WECA membership benefit. Members: Please log in to your secured member dashboard to download the PE to PM program discount rate sheet, or call our office for more information. Member employees: Please speak to your contractor about accessing a discount.

Q: How long does it take to complete the program?
A: The program is modularized and was designed to accommodate individual choice in the intensity and speed of completion. Motivated students might complete it in as little as 6 months. A student who would like to integrate the concepts more slowly, or who is combining this program with other on-the-job training, might prefer to enroll in only one course per quarter, taking approximately 18 months to complete the program.

Q: Will the timing of the classes interfere with job duties?
A: The program has been designed for busy working professionals and should not interfere with full-time job duties. All of the courses are fully online. Three of the courses are entirely self-paced. One of the courses has an instructor-led introduction, which is held online in the evening, and then the remainder is self-paced. The final course is scheduled, online, instructor-led, but classes occur on weeknight evenings and one Saturday.

Q: I'm a construction professional who has had some electrical training already. Can I skip a class? 
A: WECA recommends the full program, taken in the order outlined above. However, if you've had previous electrical training (for instance, by taking some WECA GetWired! classes), we recommend you review the course outlines closely, and then enroll in whatever is most appropriate for you. Call WECA and talk to one of our client services specialists if you're not sure what to take.

Q: Does WECA provide a certificate of completion at the end of this program?
A: Yes, a student who successfully completes all five courses in the PE to PM Program Path with be granted a certificate of completion from WECA. (Credit towards the certificate for alternative courses previously taken at WECA will be considered on a case-by-case basis.)

Q: I'm ready to get started (or to get my employees started) in this program! What do I do next?
A: Enroll online through our PE to PM Course Catalog, or call our office at 1-877-444-9322 for enrollment guidance.

 
Read more >>


Wednesday, September 29, 2021   Did you know that women make up 9% of the Commercial Electrical Apprentices in our AZ Program?

Will you--or someone you know--join them?



Want to read a gratifying statistic? Women make up 9 percent of the Commercial Electrical Apprentices enrolled in our Arizona program at WECA's Phoenix training facility--more than the national average!

There are myriad reasons why pursuing a Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship through WECA Arizona is a good idea, but we think Laura Varela (pictured above) sums it up best!

Per her spotlight, Varela says that "The major perks of an Apprenticeship with WECA, rather than a traditional college education, would be the cost. Apprenticeship tuition is paid for by the employing contractor; the phrase 'earn while you learn is a big part of the Apprenticeship program."

Indeed--having tuition paid for by your employing contractor is the biggest perk of a WECA Apprenticeship program. That allows you to build your career and earn while you learn, while graduating with no debt!

Want to learn more? Click here! Or save our flyer below, which outlines more details for women interested in our Commercial Electrical Program in Arizona. (P.S. Lots of opportunities in our California programs, too!)

Read more >>


Wednesday, September 29, 2021   Important open enrollment update for Commercial Electrical Apprentices

Dear WECA Commercial Electrical Apprentices:

The enrollment processing for United Healthcare (UHC) is complete. Your UHC ID cards will be mailed directly from UHC. Please review your UHC ID card when you receive it.

Should you want to change your Primary Care Physician, please call for HMO assistance at (800) 624-8822 and for PPO assistance at (866) 633-2446.

You may change your Primary Care Physician during the month of October and the charge will be retroactive to October 1. Any Primary Care Physician(s) change between November 1-15 will be effective on December 1, and if you make a Primary Care Physician(s) change between November 16-30, this change becomes effective on January 1, 2022.

WECA would like to encourage you to download the United Healthcare app. This app is available for iPhone and Android mobile devices. You may find a link to the app by logging into your dashboard at www.goweca.com and clicking on "Commercial Apprentices Benefits", which will then take you to the benefit page.

Once enrolled in the United Healthcare app, you may download a digital dental ID card as well. In addition, you can register on myuhc.com to print a vision ID card.

Please contact Cindy Cormier, WECA's Insurance Administrator, at (916) 453-0112 ext. 117 or via email at ccormier@goweca.com if you have any questions.
Read more >>


Wednesday, September 29, 2021   Join WECA in Fresno on Oct. 13 for an open house celebrating our new Fresno training facility!

If you haven't yet RSVP'd, we'd love to see you there!



You're cordially invited to WECA's open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony for our new Fresno training facility! All are welcome!

When: October 13, 2021 from 4 to 7 PM

Where: 7328 N. Remington Ave., Fresno, CA 93711

• Enjoy food and libations

• Tour the facility

• Meet WECA instructors, staff, members, students, board members, and members of the Fresno community

• Learn about WECA and how the merit shop philosophy benefits electrical contractors

• Learn about the latest in the electrical industry and its impacts on merit shop electrical contractors

• See how our apprentices learn--including the new technology and innovative training tools used in WECA's apprenticeship learning labs!

Please RSVP at the link below so we can look forward to seeing you there!

Register Here for our Fresno Open House
Read more >>


Wednesday, September 29, 2021   WECA's experiencing exceptional growth!

We're hiring a full-time Low Voltage Apprenticeship instructor.

And we're also hiring part-time GetWired! instructors to teach online courses on weeknight evenings with the option to teach Saturday labs at training facilities across the state, too! (Psst--this is the perfect side gig that doesn't interfere with your day job or your retirement if you're a retired electrician!).



Are you a certified (or retired) low voltage technician with a passion for sharing your knowledge? WECA's looking for a Low Voltage Apprenticeship instructor to educate the next generation of California's low voltage technicians in a fast-paced educational setting (including a state-of-the-art fire life safety and voice data video lab!) at our Rancho Cordova headquarters!

Click here to learn more and apply!



Thanks to the exceptional growth and surging demand that WECA's GetWired! Electrician Trainee program is experiencing, WECA is hiring part-time instructors for online, evening weeknight classes, with the option to also teach hands-on labs on Saturdays at our training facilities across the State.

It's the perfect side gig to complement your day job (or your retirement!), and lets you bring in some extra cash doing something you love (and educating the next generation while you're at it!).

Weeknight instruction takes place online and can be done from the comfort of home. If you're interested in teaching Saturday labs onsite, we have opportunities at training facilities across California.

Click here to learn more and apply!
Read more >>


Thursday, September 23, 2021   WECA's outreach efforts are back in high gear!

Go behind the scenes at North State Building Industry Foundation's 2021 Construction Job Fair with WECA's Diane and Zack!





Left: WECA's booth setup, complete with WECA swag! Right: Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship instructor Zack demonstrates how to bend conduit to a prospective WECA Apprentice!

WECA's Workforce Development Supervisor Diane and Commercial Apprenticeship instructor Zack attended North State Building Industry Foundation's 2021 Construction Job Fair on Wednesday, September 22 and had nothing but great things to say about it!

"We were so excited to be back in person sharing information about WECA's Apprenticeship programs and careers as an electrician at the job fair," says Diane. "The attendees had lots of questions about what it takes to be an electrician and were excited to learn about WECA's training programs to get them on the path to a successful career!"

Thank you, Diane and Zack! We love you seeing you out in the community inspiring the next generation of California's premier electricians and low voltage technicians!
 
Read more >>


Thursday, September 23, 2021   WECA will be performing outreach at upcoming job fairs and career events in October

But that's not all! WECA will be performing outreach at upcoming Greater Sacramento Urban League and Construction Industry Education Foundation events in October!

Would Like Member Contractors to Join Us







MARK YOUR CALENDAR and get the Sacramento region back to work during the Greater Sacramento Urban League’s twenty-ninth annual Diversity Job Fair happening on Wednesday, October 27th at the Hyatt Regency Sacramento from 9:00am – 1:00pm.

JOIN US and our partner sponsors SMUD, Dignity Health, ESPN and KSFM radio as we get our region’s jobseekers back to work. The COVID pandemic has taken a devastating toll on Sacramento’s workforce. This year’s event is specially designed with COVID safety protocols for both employer-exhibitors and jobseekers. The 2021 Diversity Job Fair will feature a vaccine and testing clinic, Computer Caf?or immediate online upload of employment applications, free LinkedIn headshots booth courtesy of Audacy Radio, as well as the wealth of Sacramento talent looking to go to work.  
 
FOR 53 YEARS, the Greater Sacramento Urban League has served a mission to educate, empower and employ our region's most talented jobseekers and most vulnerable communities. We are a stakeholder and advocate of the Sacramento Regional Prosperity Plan realizing the capital benefits a diverse workplace culture can bring.

RESERVE YOUR SPACE TODAY by completing the attached Exhibitor Registration form. Take advantage of our AJCC employer hire services and benefits. Support our region. Get Sacramento Back To Work on October 27, 2021.
 
2021 GSUL Diversity Job Fair will be held at:
Hyatt Regency Sacramento
1209 L Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

Why should WECA Member Contractors participate? WECA wants to help our Member Contractors build their workforces by participating in events and sharing information about our programs. Our Member Contractors are ultimately the employer, so there's a lot of value in attending these events together as partners. Having you, our Member Contractors, present provides a tangible connection to jobs in the industry for prospective apprentices, trainees, or even journeyperson job seekers.

Please contact Diane Trotter, WECA Workforce Development Supervisor, to discuss coordinating efforts at these upcoming events. 877-444-9322 ext.151
Read more >>


Thursday, September 23, 2021   Behind the scenes at WECA Rancho Cordova HQ: 4th-year Commercial Electrical Apprentices in the labs







Read more >>


Thursday, September 23, 2021   Industry Partner Spotlight: Trade Hounds



The digital revolution continues apace within the electrical and construction industries. An excellent example of this is WECA’s newest industry partner—the aptly named Trade Hounds, a construction technology company founded in 2016—whose mission is to “Improve the lives of hardworking tradespeople who are building the world around us. Building a digital home for these workers allows us to help contractors source and hire the skilled tradespeople they struggle to find anywhere else,” says Peter Maglathlin, Trade Hounds’ co-founder and Chief Financial Officer. 

According to Maglathlin, more than 225,000 skilled tradespeople use Trade Hounds to “Showcase their work, build professional profiles and find jobs. We launched our hiring platform one year ago, and today hundreds of electrical contractors across the country use Trade Hounds to source and hire the skilled electricians they need. We provide electrical contractors access to the deepest pool of trades-only talent out there.”

To put it simply—through Trade Hounds, WECA Member Contractors are able to recruit and hire from their user base of more than 225,000 tradespeople. But if that seems overwhelming, worry not—Maglathlin says that users can “Define what they seek. For example, licensed Journeyman electricians within 50 miles of Sacramento with a minimum of 5 years of experience.”

What’s more is that Trade Hounds promotes posted jobs via text and app notifications to tradespeople that meet the end user’s defined parameters. The advantage of this is that your job is front and center—right on a job seeker’s cell phone—which they tend to never part ways with (we all know that feeling, right?).

As the self-described “digital home for tradespeople”, Trade Hounds wanted to partner with WECA “Because WECA is an association of top-tier electrical contractors, and our track record of success with electrical contractors across the country gives us confidence that we can deliver value to the membership, and in return deliver value to Trade Hounds users. We’re thrilled to be part of the organization,” says Maglathlin. 

Want to join the electrical industry’s digital revolution and utilize Trade Hounds’ services? Click here! Once you sign up, someone from Trade Hounds’ Customer Success team will reach out to you to better understand your needs and help you post a job. Alternatively, you can also reach out directly to Trade Hounds’ Director of Business Development, Jonathan Pasternack, via phone at (617) 549-2362 or via email at jpasternack@tradehounds.com
Read more >>


Thursday, September 23, 2021   Join WECA in Fresno on Oct. 13 for an open house celebrating our new Fresno training facility!



You're cordially invited to WECA's open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony for our new Fresno training facility! All are welcome!
 
When: October 13, 2021 from 4 to 7 PM
 
Where: 7328 N. Remington Ave., Fresno, CA 93711
 
• Enjoy food and libations
 
• Tour the facility
 
• Meet WECA instructors, staff, members, students, board members, and members of the Fresno community
 
• Learn about WECA and how the merit shop philosophy benefits electrical contractors
 
• Learn about the latest in the electrical industry and its impacts on merit shop electrical contractors
 
• See how our apprentices learn--including the new technology and innovative training tools used in WECA's apprenticeship learning labs!
 
Please RSVP at the link below so we can look forward to seeing you there!
 
Register Here for our Fresno Open House
Read more >>


Thursday, September 23, 2021   COVID-19 Resources for WECA Member Contractors

Construction Industry COVID-19 Safety Plan (updated 12-21-20)
CA DIR Div. of Occupational Safety & Health: COVID-19 Infection Prevention in Construction
* CA Dept. of Public Health COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Construction
*  COVID-19 Employer Playbook for a Safe Reopening
COVID Situation Flow Diagram Company Template
COVID-19 Infection Prevention in Construction
WECA Special Update Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors
 * Cal/OSHA Guidance on Requirements to Protect Workers from Coronavirus
Supplemental Toolbox Talks COVID-19
Coronavirus Toolbox Talk
COVID-19 in Construction Workplace
COVID-19 Safety Meeting Outlines
COVID-19 Toolbox Talks for Subs
Fact Sheet for Pandemics
Marek Brother Toolbox Talk
COVID-19 Action Plan
Pandemic Preparedness - Coronavirus
Coronavirus - Workplace, School and Home Guidance
COVID-19 Tool Cleaning Protocols
COVID-19 Print Resources
COVID-19 Fact Sheet
United States Department of Labor: COVID-19
CDC COVID-19 Risk Assessment Flowchart
CALPASC HR 6201 Guidance
EDD Coronavirus Resources for WECA Community
Contractors State License Board Encourages Licensees to Donate PPE During COVID-19 Emergency
*  WECA Special Update Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors
* COVID-19 Federal Paid Leaves Explained
 * Get Your Editable Essential Work Permission Slips for Yourself and Your Employees Here
Show the Industry How WECA Contractors Lead in Best Practices for Jobsite Safety During COVID-19
WECA Special Update 4-1-20: New Carpooling and Facemask Recommendations; Sonoma County Joins In On New Bay Area Restrictions; New Requirements in Los Angeles for Comprehensive COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan; Two New Guides to CARES Act from the U.S. Chamber 
Coronavirus: Read the Yuba County and Sutter County Stay-at-Home Orders, issued April 7, 2020
*  OSHA's "Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19" and Other Resources; Includes Spanish Versions to Help You Reach All Employees

These, and more, plus class scheduling updates for your apprentices and students, are always available on WECA's COVID-19 Advisory Page.
Read more >>


Thursday, September 16, 2021   WECA Political Update September 16, 2021

Newsom Survives Recall Governor Newsom rather convincingly beat back the recall attempt. I don’t have much to add to what has been in the media, but I would point out it is only 265 days until the June primary! Nearly 64 percent of voters have rejected the recall, based on results from 9.1 million ballots counted statewide so far. That's a slight drop from initial tallies that were closer to a 2-to-1 ratio, but still a massive gap. Of course, all the numbers will change as more ballots get counted.
 
The biggest shocker here was fourth-place finisher Brandon Ross, a Democrat listed as "Physician/Attorney" on the ballot. Ross had 5.6 percent, outpacing Republicans John Cox (4.4 percent) and Kevin Kiley (3.2 percent). And Ross didn't even have a live bear or $7 million in TV ads.
 
Mayor Dyer Vetoes 5-Year Union Labor Deal for Fresno City Construction Projects The San Joaquin Valley Sun reports, “In his second-ever veto, Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer rejected a measure adopted by six members of the Fresno City Council to institute union-prioritization for the City’s seven-figure construction projects. In a statement on Monday afternoon, Dyer rejected the five-year citywide Project Labor Agreement (PLA), a pre-construction agreement mandating union labor for most public works projects exceeding $1 million, as being “not inclusive,” failing to boost local hiring or “broaden the City’s labor pool. As a dues-paying member of public sector unions for the past 41 years, I do recognize that a Project Labor Agreement, if done correctly, can be beneficial,” Mayor Dyer said. “I would support the PLA if it could be modified to prioritize local hiring and local businesses.” The Dyer administration pushed back heavily on the proposed citywide Project Labor Agreement during debate before the Fresno City Council recently. Dyer doubled down in a statement on Monday, noting that union membership in the construction sits at 13 percent nationally. “This two-tiered system is discriminatory toward a large majority of Fresno’s construction workers and does not fit Mayor Dyer’s One Fresno vision of inclusivity,” his administration said in a statement. While the agreement would allow non-union contractors to bid on city work, it would subject them to paying union-mandated benefits that its workers on the project may not realize. “[T]he result being non-union contractors paying double for health and retirement benefits,” the Dyer administration said. Dyer administration officials also disputed the benefits touted by union representatives regarding better wages and benefits. Fresno’s history has only undertaken two project-specific PLAs with unions: the current City Hall building, completed in 1992, and Fresno-Yosemite International Airport’s parking garage, currently under construction. The city banned PLAs from 2000 to 2014. “(This PLA) lacks any measurement tools to see if it has met its goals,” city administration noted. Six members of the Fresno City Council backed the five-year citywide PLA measure. Fresno City Council member Garry Bredefeld was the lone dissenting vote on the agreement. In his veto statement, Dyer said he wanted exemptions for local contractors who are headquartered in Fresno’s city limits, have all employees on City of Fresno jobs reside within Fresno, provide health care coverage and 401(k) or other retirement benefits to those on the project, and dedicate 20 percent of workers assigned to the project be trade apprentices living within the City of Fresno. Dyer’s veto was overridden by a 6-1 vote of the City Council members.

Legislative Session Ends The first year of the 2021-2022 legislative session has concluded. However, Governor Newsom has already approved several bills.

AB 137 (Budget) Authorizes the Department of General Services to use the progressive design-build procurement process for up to three public works projects (with the usual SBCTC language) CHAPTERED

AB 143 (Budget) Authorizes the Judicial Council to use a design-build procurement process in contracting and procuring public works projects and would authorize the Judicial Council to award contracts using either the best value or low bid selection method for all projects (with the usual SBCTC language) CHAPTERED

AB 246 (Quirk) Adds illegal dumping to the list of violations that constitute a cause for disciplinary action against a contractor by the CSLB. CHAPTERED

AB 271 (Rivas) Permits the Santa Clara Valley Water District to award contracts on a best value basis for any work of the Anderson Dam project. The bill would require the contractor to comply with the State's STWF mandates unless the district has a PLA. CHAPTERED

AB 569 (Grayson) Increases the maximum civil penalty amounts that can be assessed against licensed contractors for violations of the Contractors State License Law consistent with changes in the Consumer Price Index. Authorizes the Contractors State License Board to issue a Letter of Admonishment instead of a citation for multiple violations at a time. CHAPTERED

SB 7 (Atkins) Reenacts the Jobs and Economic Improvement Through Environmental Leadership Act of 2011 and expands the Act’s eligibility to include smaller housing projects until January 1, 2026. The bill would exempt PLA projects from skilled and trained workforce mandates, the requirement to submit certified payroll records and prohibit the State Labor Commissioner from enforcing the labor code. Requires prevailing wages and apprentices on private projects authorized by the bill. CHAPTERED

SB 51 (Durazo) Makes changes to the Roberti Act (the Act) to encourage the sale of homes owned by Caltrans, located within the State Route (SR) 710 corridor in the El Sereno neighborhood of the City of Los Angeles (Los Angeles), for low- and moderate-income rental housing. Exempts PLA projects from CPRs and STWF. Requires prevailing wages and apprentices on private projects authorized by the bill. CHAPTERED

SB 144 (Portantino) Makes changes to the Film and TV Tax Credit administered by the California Film Commission (CFC), housed within the Governor’s Office of Business and Development (GO-Biz). Requires that the operation and maintenance of the soundstage must be performed by a workforce paid at least the prevailing rate that is either directly or through a payroll company employed by the soundstage owner or lessee; or a skilled and trained workforce, as defined in the Public Contract Code Chapter 2.9 (beginning with section 2600), if a third-party vendor provides services. CHAPTERED

SB 657 (Ochoa Bogh) Allows employers, in any instance the employer is required to physically post information, to additionally distribute that information to employees by email with the document or documents attached. Further, this bill clarifies that email distribution or relevant documents under the proposed statute does not alter the employer’s physical obligation to display the required posting. CHAPTERED

Two Of Arizona’s Native Fish Are Being Considered for Downlisting from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act. But here's why they may always need human help.

Reconciliation and the PROAct In addition to the tax increases in the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, on Sept. 10, the House Education and Labor Committee marked up and approved its $761 billion portions of the bill on a party-line vote. It contains provisions like policies included in the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PROAct):

·        $5 million for the implementation of electronic voting in union elections.
·        Financial penalties on employers for unfair labor practices.
·        Personal liability for company directors and officers for unfair labor practices.
·        Prohibitions against employers from permanently replacing strikers, locking out workers, captive audience meetings, and arbitration agreements.

ABC has a website that allows contractors to contact their members of Congress here.

The Peter G. Peterson Foundation has produced an analysis of the reconciliation process and the plan to pay for the “infrastructure” package.

Time for Reconciliation All House Dem committee chairs have successfully met Speaker Pelosi's deadline to finish their sections by Sept. 15, clearing the way for leadership-level negotiations on the most challenging aspects of the bill: Medicare expansion, Medicaid spending, SALT, and drug pricing.

Arbitration Agreements A federal appeals court Wednesday simultaneously revived and gutted a 2019 California law banning employers from requiring arbitration agreements in job contracts, ruling that its enforcement mechanisms run afoul of federal law. The court allowed the ban to take effect but limited the state's power to enforce it, rendering the law largely symbolic. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a split decision that federal law does not prevent California officials from banning forced arbitration under AB 51. But the panel struck down a provision of AB 51 that would have penalized employers that retaliate against workers who decline to sign such agreements. The court ruled that civil penalties subjecting employers to up to six months of jail time or a $1,000 fine, as outlined in the measure, are prohibited under federal law. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Retail Federation, and other business groups filed a lawsuit in 2019 arguing that the bill was in direct conflict with the Federal Arbitration Act, allowing employers and workers to settle disputes outside of court.

NLRB Chief Counsel Seeks New Penalties for Labor Law Violations With a newly minted Democratic majority on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the General Counsel of the NLRB, who directs the enforcement of federal labor law, has ordered her staff to seek broad remedies—many of which would be unprecedented—for workers subjected to unfair practices, including reimbursement for “consequential damages” such as health care expenses, credit card late fees, or loss of a home or car as a result of being unlawfully terminated. Story

The Popularity of our POTUS: President Joe Biden’s average approval rating (46 percent) is in Ford territory and could be headed into Trump territory if he doesn’t turn it around. Here’s where every modern president rated at this point, according to FiveThirtyEight.

G.W. Bush: 82.6%
Kennedy: 76.1%
Truman: 75%
Eisenhower: 74.4%
Johnson: 74%
G.H.W. Bush: 69.5%
Nixon: 62.3%
Reagan: 60.1%
Carter: 54.3%
Obama: 53.4%
Clinton: 48.3%
Biden: 46%
Ford: 46%
Trump: 38.8%

Air Resources Board Invites CSLB Licensees to Attend Workgroup on Proposed Amendment for Off-Road Diesel Vehicles The California Air Resources Board (CARB) will host a public workgroup to discuss possible amendments to the In-Use Off-Road Diesel-Fueled Fleets Regulation (Off-Road Regulation) to include additional requirements for contractors and public works projects that use, hire, or own off-road diesel vehicles that are subject to the Off-Road Regulation.

The purpose of these potential amendments is:

1) To achieve long-term vehicle emissions reductions needed to meet federal and State air quality goals and requirements, and
2) To promote more effective compliance with the existing Off-Road Regulation.
During CARB’s public workgroup, the concept will be discussed, and CSLB licensees who may be affected by the proposed amendments can provide input.

Virtual Public Workgroup

Tuesday, September 21, 2021
2:30 – 4:30 p.m.

Register here.

More information about the workgroup is available here.

Accessible Parking the California Commission on Disability Access (CCDA) wants to change accessible parking in California. They have developed a survey for contractors and construction managers to “help” access the changes.
 
It should only take 5-10 minutes to complete but is due COB 9/21/21.
 
On the topic of accessible parking in private works construction, buildings open to the public, the survey asks which areas of Chapter 11B of the CA Building Code (public accessibility) would be most helpful for CCDA to focus on in developing toolkits/resources for business owners/operators, ADA local government, and building industry professionals. The survey expects A-Gen Eng., B-Gen Building, C-8 Concrete, C-10 Electrical [EV charging in parking lots], C-12 Earth/Pave, C-23 Orn. Metal, C-27 Landscaping, C-32-Parking and Highway, C-45 Signs, or any other contractor license classification who may be able to weigh in.
 
Access the full link here.
Read more >>


Tuesday, September 14, 2021   Industry Partner Spotlight: Trade Hounds



The digital revolution continues apace within the electrical and construction industries. An excellent example of this is WECA’s newest industry partner—the aptly named Trade Hounds, a construction technology company founded in 2016—whose mission is to “Improve the lives of hardworking tradespeople who are building the world around us. Building a digital home for these workers allows us to help contractors source and hire the skilled tradespeople they struggle to find anywhere else,” says Peter Maglathlin, Trade Hounds’ co-founder and Chief Financial Officer.

According to Maglathlin, more than 225,000 skilled tradespeople use Trade Hounds to “Showcase their work, build professional profiles and find jobs. We launched our hiring platform one year ago, and today hundreds of electrical contractors across the country use Trade Hounds to source and hire the skilled electricians they need. We provide electrical contractors access to the deepest pool of trades-only talent out there.”

To put it simply—through Trade Hounds, WECA Member Contractors are able to recruit and hire from their user base of more than 225,000 tradespeople. But if that seems overwhelming, worry not—Maglathlin says that users can “Define what they seek. For example, licensed Journeyman electricians within 50 miles of Sacramento with a minimum of 5 years of experience.”

What’s more is that Trade Hounds promotes posted jobs via text and app notifications to tradespeople that meet the end user’s defined parameters. The advantage of this is that your job is front and center—right on a job seeker’s cell phone—which they tend to never part ways with (we all know that feeling, right?).

As the self-described “digital home for tradespeople”, Trade Hounds wanted to partner with WECA “Because WECA is an association of top-tier electrical contractors, and our track record of success with electrical contractors across the country gives us confidence that we can deliver value to the membership, and in return deliver value to Trade Hounds users. We’re thrilled to be part of the organization,” says Maglathlin.

Want to join the electrical industry’s digital revolution and utilize Trade Hounds’ services? Click here! Once you sign up, someone from Trade Hounds’ Customer Success team will reach out to you to better understand your needs and help you post a job. Alternatively, you can also reach out directly to Trade Hounds’ Director of Business Development, Jonathan Pasternack, via phone at (617) 549-2362 or via email at jpasternack@tradehounds.com.  
Read more >>


Thursday, September 09, 2021   CSLB Holds Online BESS Workshop and Answers Frequently Asked BESS Questions



Content courtesy of CSLB

ONLINE BESS WORKSHOP
 
CSLB will hold an online battery energy storage system (BESS) workshop on Friday,
September 17, 2021, from 3 to 4 p.m., to address application or scope of work/classification questions.
 
Please email your questions to classifications@cslb.ca.gov by Friday, September 10, 2021.

Meeting Link:
 
https://cslb.webex.com/cslb/j.php?MTID=m0fe62a957e0e941ed0a18f28d5edec53
 
Friday, Sep 17, 2021, 3:00 pm | 1 hour | (UTC-07:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)
Event number: 2556 472 8621
Event password: BPxcxn3Pf77 (27929637 from phones)

Questions & Answers
 
1.    What do C-46 Solar contractors need to do if they want to install battery energy storage systems (BESS) after November 1, 2021?
 
To place, install, erect, or connect a BESS, the C-46 contractor will need to add the C-10 Electrical contractor classification on their license. To get the C-10 added, go to the CSLB website and complete this application. CSLB will expedite its review of applications received by November 1, 2021.
 
If you are a solar contractor that has been installing BESS in conjunction with photovoltaic (PV) systems for four or more years, you will meet the requirements to add the C-10 Electrical classification to your license. CSLB also encourages you to start studying early for the trade exam, please refer to CSLB’s study guide. Information regarding obtaining a wavier of the exam can be found here.
 
Without the C-10, B, or A classification on your license, a C-46 Solar contractor cannot take a contract on a project that includes BESS installation. Beginning November 1, 2021, this applies to all new contracts on projects entered into on and after November 1, 2021, and for work occurring on and after November 1, 2021. You may refer to Business and Professions Code section 7059.

2.    Who needs to have a certified electrician on their team?  
 
A C-10 Electrical contractor needs a certified electrician on staff to engage in the connection of electrical devices greater than 100-volt amperes. CSLB recommends contractors review California Labor Code sections 108-108.5 and California Department of Industrial Relations regulations and its Electrical Certification FAQ.
 
The only time a contractor needs a certified electrician on staff is when they hold a C-10 classification and are engaging in the connection of an electrical device pursuant to California Labor Code sections 108-108.5. This includes connecting a BESS or PV system to an existing electrical system or to a utility grid. This also includes placing, installing, erecting or connecting an electrical panel.
 
If you have questions about a specific project, please email CSLB’s classification at classifications@cslb.ca.gov.
 
If you have questions about electrician certification or how to obtain it, please visit the Department of Industrial Relations, Electrician Certification Program webpage.

3.    When can a contractor with a C-10 electrical classification use non-certified workers?
 
A C-10 contractor does not need to use a certified electrician to perform work on a BESS or PV when the work does not involve connecting an electrical device. Examples include installation, repair, or service of: 
 
·      Racks on a roof (including associated flashing and sealing roof penetrations from rack attachment).
·      Installation of poles and racks for ground mounted solar systems.
·      Installation of BESS racks.
·      Installation of required BESS or PV signage.
·      Seismic Restraints

4.    What about General Contractors (“A” General Engineering, “B” General
Building) and BESS?

Please see the August 12, 2021 CSLB Industry Bulletin about this question. A General Building contractor may take a prime contract that involves a PV or BESS installation if the multiple trade requirement of Business and Professions Code section 7057 is met. And a General Engineering contractor may take a prime contract that involves a PV or BESS installation if the project is in connection with fixed works requiring general engineering knowledge or skill, as required by Business and Professions Code 7056. The Labor Code sections 108 – 108.5 referenced above do not require general contractors who do not have a C-10 Electrical license to employ certified electricians.

A note to Solar Contractors from WECA--if you've recently become a C-10 in response to the new CSLB requirements and now need to quickly get your employees registered as Electrician Trainees before the November 1 deadline, WECA can help. Learn how to register your employees with our Electrician Trainee Program (and subsequently with the State of CA) here and don't hesitate to call our office with questions: 1-877-444-9322.
Read more >>


Thursday, September 09, 2021   Congratulations to the WECA Northern California Class of 2021!

How we celebrated our graduates at WECA's Rancho Cordova headquarters





WECA extends a hearty congratulations to the WECA Northern California Class of 2021, who celebrated their graduation at WECA’s Rancho Cordova headquarters on Saturday, August 28th.

The graduation, held in a shaded and cooled tent outside, yielded an impressive turnout of 163 guests (including lots of cute babies!).

It was gratifying to see so many graduates bringing their families along, enjoying delicious food and drink on WECA’s grounds and also giving them tours of WECA’s training facilities! We were also pleased to treat graduates to swag duffle bags stuffed with goodies from Industry Partners like Milwaukee Tool, IDEAL Industries, and Klein Tools, and to the sharp wit of WECA Lead Instructor and Lab Facilities Manager Jimmie Slemp, who served as emcee.

"Graduation was amazing. It was fun to see the staff and students all work together, under difficult circumstances, to celebrate and showcase all of the graduates' dedication and hard work over the past years!", says Galen Eckert, WECA's Electrician Trainee/Continuing Education Program Online Education Manager.

Wendy Flanagan, WECA's Assistant Director of Apprenticeship, also says that "Everyone was excited to be there and celebrating the graduates of 2020 and 2021. There were many babies and young children there; I love seeing the families that are started while they are in their Apprenticeship. And one of the graduates--who could not bring his baby--held up a poster board with a picture of his baby when his [the graduate's] name was called and everyone clapped."

Also in attendance was Glen Forman, the Deputy Chief of the Division of Apprenticeship Standards. It was great to see Glen come out to support our graduates! All in all, the event was a success, and the steadfast support that our graduates receive from their loved ones, employers, instructors, sponsors and other electrical industry stakeholders was evident.

Eckert concurs, giving "A shout-out to all the supportive family members and friends of our graduates, who we all know are a huge help behind the scenes, keeping the family dynamic going as well as supporting our students. Congratulations to everyone involved!"

Congratulations, everyone! We are proud of your hard work and dedication!



Read more >>


Thursday, September 09, 2021   We couldn't have pulled it off without the support of our generous sponsors!

Thank you to the following sponsors for supporting the WECA Class of 2021 graduations:

Volts Level Sponsors





(Commercial Division)











Amps Level Sponsors









Watts Level Sponsors









Ohms Level Sponsors

Read more >>


Thursday, September 09, 2021   Check out the WECA Northern California Class of 2021 graduation ceremony in our commemorative video

2021 WECA Northern California Graduation Event
Read more >>


Thursday, September 09, 2021   Extra, extra: read our WECA Northern California Class of 2021 graduate spotlight!



Northern California Double-Program Graduate Autumn DeChaine

It’s not everyday that WECA gets to graduate an Apprentice who has succeeded in not just one—but two!—Apprenticeship programs. That’s the case with 2021 Northern California Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship graduate Autumn DeChaine, who also graduated (as Valedictorian!) from WECA’s Low Voltage Apprenticeship program in 2014.

“I’m really glad that I chose to graduate from the Low Voltage Apprenticeship program before joining the Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship program,” says DeChaine. “It added value to my career as an electrician and gave me a good foundation before going into the Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship program.”

DeChaine says that the Low Voltage Apprenticeship program and the Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship program are similar in that they both follow the WECA structure of class time and homework, but obviously differ in terms of the curriculum.

“The main difference between working as a Low Voltage Apprentice and a Commercial Electrical Apprentice is that as a Low Voltage Apprentice, you are responsible for knowing one or two systems (fire life safety or voice data video). As an electrician, you are on the job from the very beginning and you are responsible for all the electrical systems,” says DeChaine.

DeChaine says that her favorite part of the Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship program was going back to work after time in the classroom and integrating what she learned.

“I also enjoyed the camaraderie of going to school with the same people year after year and supporting each other,” says DeChaine. “As far as the curriculum, I loved learning motor controls and relay logic.”

Now that DeChaine has completed both programs, she says that she still has a lot to learn and plans on running bigger projects in the future.

And, DeChaine adds that she has been with her company, Vanden Bos Electric, for nine years and still loves it there. DeChaine says she plans to incorporate all her education and work on both fire life safety and electrical systems.

“I just completed my first project as a foreman. There is a lot incorporated in running projects that you don’t think about as an Apprentice or Journeyman; I learned a lot and am optimistic about my future with Vanden Bos Electric,” says DeChaine.
Read more >>


Thursday, September 09, 2021   Low Voltage Apprenticeship graduates can seek college credits for program completion at WECA!



The Details

WECA has a big announcement! Our Low Voltage Electrical Apprenticeship program has received college credit recommendations from NCCRS (the National College Credit Recommendation Service).

This benefit provides WECA low voltage apprentices the ability to gain access to college credit for completion of this three-year apprenticeship program by using the credit recommendation(s) set forth by NCCRS. The Low Voltage Electrical Apprenticeship program joins WECA's Commercial Electrical and Residential Electrical Apprenticeship programs, which each previously received college credit recommendations from NCCRS in 2018.

"We’re gratified to receive this college credit recommendation for our Low Voltage Electrical Apprenticeship program, which now joins our Commercial Electrical and Residential Electrical Apprenticeship Programs in giving our apprenticeship graduates a route towards receiving substantial college credits for the programs they’ve already completed at WECA,” said Terry Seabury, WECA’s Executive Director and CEO. “We appreciate the external validation that our comprehensive, competency-based curriculum featuring skilled teaching by credentialed instructors and technicallyadvanced, hands-on labs is of equivalent rigor to courses held at a traditional four-year college or university.”

"NCCRS is pleased to recommend college credit for WECA’s Low Voltage Electrical Apprenticeship program,” NCCRS Director Lisa Sax Mahoney said. "Through our professional evaluations, we support the recognition of high-quality workforce training programs delivered by qualified organizations across the country."

Founded in 1973 by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York, the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS), located in Albany, New York, is an organization that evaluates and establishes college credit recommendations for courses offered by government, industry, and other noncollegiate sponsors.

NCCRS collaborates with more than 1,500 organizations and institutions of higher education across the United States and beyond. NCCRS member organizations include state government agencies, apprenticeship sponsors, corporations, and community and faith-based organizations. A few longstanding members include the City of New York Police Department (NYPD), the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY), and Consolidated Edison. Since its inception, NCCRS has evaluated and recommended college credit for more than 5,200 courses, exams, and educational programs enabling individuals to gain access to college credit for successful completion of qualified learning.
 
Learn more about NCCRS and view their college credit recommendations for WECA here.

Using This Benefit: A Guide for our Apprentices and Graduates 

Q: Who is eligible?

A: Any graduates of WECA's Low Voltage Apprenticeship program in the Class of 2021, or beyond. (Any graduates of WECA's Commercial or Residential Electrical Apprenticeships since September of 2013 are eligible for those programs. (NCCRS granted eligibility for those programs going back five years, and evaluated WECA's Commercial and Residential programs in Autumn of 2018.)

Q: So WECA apprentice grads automatically have college credits?

A:  No. NCCRS makes college credit recommendations. (From NCCRS:
A college credit recommendation is an academic advisement about the comparability of a learning experience to college-level instruction, such as undergraduate or graduate course work, the amount of credit that may be awarded, and areas where credit could apply. The credit recommendations are intended to guide college officials as they consider awarding credit to persons who have successfully completed NCCRS evaluated learning experiences. College credit recommendations are not actual college credit because the New York State Board of Regents does not award college credit. Through the results of the NCCRS evaluations, however, the Board of Regents encourages colleges and universities to consider accepting the credit recommendations.)

Q: How Does Acceptance of College Credit Recommendations work?

A: It is up to the college or university to choose whether to grant college credits, how many, and in what subjects, for completion of a WECA program. NCCRS recommends specific credit amounts and subjects. College and university admissions departments should reference NCCRS' WECA listing at http://www.nationalccrs.org/organizations/western-electrical-contractors for specific recommendations. NCCRS recommends up to 30 semester credit hours for completion of WECA's Low Voltage Electrical program, up to 66 semester credit hours for completion of WECA's Commerical Electrical program, up to 40 semester credit hours for completion of WECA's Residential Electrical program. 

Q: How Do WECA Commercial, Residential, and Low Voltage Electrical Apprenticeship Graduates Use This Benefit?

A: Apprentices grads should:
1. Identify the college or university they wish to ask to accept a credit recommendation from NCCRS for work completed at WECA. (A list of colleges and universities who have previously participated with NCCRS is here: http://www.nationalccrs.org/colleges-universities. Seeing a college or university on this list is a promising sign that they will consider NCCRS' recommendation, but is not a guarantee. Further, just because a college or university is not yet shown on the list does not mean the apprentice grad shouldn't request that they consider the credit recommendation.)
2. Work with their admissions advisor at their college or university of choice to learn the process for seeking college credits for their WECA Commercial, Residential, or Low Voltage Electrical program completion. The college or university may refer to this as their PLA (prior learning assessment) process or policy. The applicant should share NCCRS' WECA credit recommendation 
http://www.nationalccrs.org/organizations/western-electrical-contractors with the decision-makers at their college or university.
3. Request a transcript from WECA as requested by their college or university. Email apregistrar@goweca.com with transcript requests.
4. If the applicant encounters problems with their transfer credit request, they can contact NCCRS so that NCCRS can advocate on the applicant's behalf.

Q: What about the Electrician Trainee Program?

A: WECA is currently evaluating demand for college credit recommendations for its Electrician Trainee program.

Q: What if I still have questions?

?A: Please call us at 1-877-444-9322 and we'll do our best to help you out.
Read more >>


Thursday, September 09, 2021   Join WECA in Fresno on Oct. 13 for an open house celebrating our new Fresno training facility!



You're cordially invited to WECA's open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony for our new Fresno training facility! All are welcome!
 
When: October 13, 2021 from 4 to 7 PM
 
Where: 7328 N. Remington Ave., Fresno, CA 93711
 
• Enjoy food and libations
 
• Tour the facility
 
• Meet WECA instructors, staff, members, students, board members, and members of the Fresno community
 
• Learn about WECA and how the merit shop philosophy benefits electrical contractors
 
• Learn about the latest in the electrical industry and its impacts on merit shop electrical contractors
 
• See how our apprentices learn--including the new technology and innovative training tools used in WECA's apprenticeship learning labs!
 
Please RSVP at the link below so we can look forward to seeing you there!
 
Register Here for our Fresno Open House
Read more >>


Thursday, September 09, 2021   WECA Industry Partner Spotlight: OneSource Distributors

Electrical and industrial distribution for commercial, residential and solar electrical contractors in California, Arizona, Hawaii and Mexico



WECA’s Industry Partners strive to make our Member Contractors’ jobs easier.

And our newest Industry Partner, OneSource Distributors, is a valuable addition to our arsenal.

Founded in 1983, San Diego-based OneSource Distributors is an electrical and industrial distributor with 19 locations across California, Arizona, Hawaii and Baja California in Mexico. In 2011, OneSource Distributors joined the Sonepar group, which is an independent family-owned company that in turn owns 14 independently managed operating companies with over 700 locations in the United States.

“We provide innovative services and solutions that make it easy and efficient for customers work with us,” says Steve Reyno, GM and Director of Business Development at OneSource Distributors. Serving commercial, residential, utility, contractor and industrial markets, OneSource’s mission includes continuous focus on customer needs, quality and service. The company’s core values are focused on ongoing improvement and are embodied in their 10 Principles of Personal Leadership.

“We partnered with WECA because we are passionate about supporting WECA’s mission to train, educate and develop the current and future skilled trades workforce,” says Reyno. “We hope to be a resource for WECA Member Contractors, and to help its members become familiar with current and new products and solutions in the electrical space.”

OneSource Distributors offers a full line of electrical and automation products and services. Among these products are indoor, outdoor and industrial lighting and controls, Siemens distribution gear, all types of safety products, enclosures, wire and cable, wiring devices, solar, renewables and EV charging stations, and tools and testing products.

“We also include value-added services like digital solutions, project management, product packaging, safety assessment and training, vendor managed inventory, material handling cages, storage lockers, and more,” says Reyno. Learn more about all the products and services OneSource Distributors offers, or download their contractor line card.

OneSource Distributors makes it easy to for WECA Member Contractors to become customers. Visit the OneSource website at 1sourcedist.com and click “become a customer” to set up an account to easily get quotes, convert quotes to orders, track material and review previously purchased products. Or simply call (800) 266-9111 or contact your OneSource sales representative. You can also visit in person at one of the company’s sales centers.

But that’s not all OneSource Distributors has on offer. WECA Member Contractors can take advantage of ongoing programs and discounts. Find these is by contacting your sales representative, calling OneSource us at (800) 266-9111, or by emailing sales@1sourcedist.com.
Read more >>


Thursday, September 09, 2021   COVID-19 Resources for WECA Member Contractors

Construction Industry COVID-19 Safety Plan (updated 12-21-20)
CA DIR Div. of Occupational Safety & Health: COVID-19 Infection Prevention in Construction
* CA Dept. of Public Health COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Construction
*  COVID-19 Employer Playbook for a Safe Reopening
COVID Situation Flow Diagram Company Template
COVID-19 Infection Prevention in Construction
WECA Special Update Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors
 * Cal/OSHA Guidance on Requirements to Protect Workers from Coronavirus
Supplemental Toolbox Talks COVID-19
Coronavirus Toolbox Talk
COVID-19 in Construction Workplace
COVID-19 Safety Meeting Outlines
COVID-19 Toolbox Talks for Subs
Fact Sheet for Pandemics
Marek Brother Toolbox Talk
COVID-19 Action Plan
Pandemic Preparedness - Coronavirus
Coronavirus - Workplace, School and Home Guidance
COVID-19 Tool Cleaning Protocols
COVID-19 Print Resources
COVID-19 Fact Sheet
United States Department of Labor: COVID-19
CDC COVID-19 Risk Assessment Flowchart
CALPASC HR 6201 Guidance
EDD Coronavirus Resources for WECA Community
Contractors State License Board Encourages Licensees to Donate PPE During COVID-19 Emergency
*  WECA Special Update Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors
* COVID-19 Federal Paid Leaves Explained
 * Get Your Editable Essential Work Permission Slips for Yourself and Your Employees Here
Show the Industry How WECA Contractors Lead in Best Practices for Jobsite Safety During COVID-19
WECA Special Update 4-1-20: New Carpooling and Facemask Recommendations; Sonoma County Joins In On New Bay Area Restrictions; New Requirements in Los Angeles for Comprehensive COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan; Two New Guides to CARES Act from the U.S. Chamber 
Coronavirus: Read the Yuba County and Sutter County Stay-at-Home Orders, issued April 7, 2020
*  OSHA's "Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19" and Other Resources; Includes Spanish Versions to Help You Reach All Employees

These, and more, plus class scheduling updates for your apprentices and students, are always available on WECA's COVID-19 Advisory Page.
Read more >>


Thursday, September 02, 2021   WECA Political Update September 2, 2021



AFL-CIO Picks IBEW Lobbyist as President And no—it is not Scott Wetch. Politico reports “The AFL-CIO’s executive council voted to appoint Liz Shuler as the federation’s president following the unexpected death of Richard Trumka. Shuler is the organization’s first female president, a historic moment for organized labor in the U.S. She will serve as the nation’s top union official until summer 2022, when the AFL-CIO’s 50-plus affiliates can gather for their annual convention to vote on a permanent successor. Shuler’s first job in labor was as an organizer for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in 1993. She eventually worked her way up to become a lobbyist for IBEW and, later, executive assistant to its president, before Trumka named her his running mate in 2009.” Her top priorities: “I'm going to continue to carry the mantle on this sprint to the end on infrastructure and getting that across the finish line,” she said. “In particular I'm thinking of the investments in care,” as well as “making sure those are good jobs. We want labor standards attached to make all of these investments with our tax dollars work for working people. Of course the PRO Act continues to be a major focus. And you've seen all of the organizing efforts that have been happening on the ground, the strikes that are happening, workers are in motion right now. We need to capitalize on that momentum and get these important pieces of legislation passed but also continue to invest in organizing and mobilizing on the ground.”

Recall A couple readers asked if WECA had a recommended candidate or a position on the recall of Governor Gavin Newsom (we don’t). David Crane, who worked for Arnold Schwarzenegger and now runs Govern for California wrote an interesting analysis about the recall election. You can read it here. In related news: the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California in a recent poll found that 58 percent of likely voters surveyed in California oppose removing Newsom from office compared to 39 percent who support recalling the governor, a gap rooted in the sharp partisan divide between Democratic and Republican voters in the state.

Vice President Harris has cast eight tie-breaking votes so far in the Senate Vice President Kamala Harris (D) has so far cast eight tie-breaking votes in the Senate. Her two most recent tie-breaking votes were to invoke cloture and then confirm Jennifer Abruzzo on July 20 and 21 as general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board. In unrelated news, a new Rasmussen Reports survey found that 55 percent of likely voters in the U.S. say that Harris is not qualified to assume the duties of the presidency. Story

EEO-1 Reporting Deadline Extended Until October 25, 2021 The EEOC has announced on its EEO-1 Data Collection website that it has, again, extended the deadline for filing EEO-1 Reports this year—this time to October 25. Employers still rushing to finalize and upload their 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 reports by the prior August 23 deadline will certainly welcome this extra breathing room. More

Related to that… OFCCP Reverses Course, Will Use EEO-1 Pay Data for Investigation, Enforcement (You saw that coming, didn’t you?) On September 1, 2021, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), the Department of Labor sub-agency charged with enforcing affirmative action and non-discrimination requirements imposed on federal contractors by way of Executive Order 11246, announced that it was reversing its prior position regarding the use of EEO-1 compensation data collected by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for calendar years 2018 and 2019 (the so-called “Component 2”). Story

Headline Risk — Apparently, Republicans’ faith in Big Business has plummeted, a dramatic change in sentiment that coincides with the rise of corporate social responsibility and voter populism. Since 2019, the share of rank-and-file Republicans who say large corporations have a positive impact on the U.S. has fallen by almost half, to 30 percent from 54 percent, according to a Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults. The upshot: Republicans used to be the party of business. These days, there’s not much light between them and Democrats, Pew found. “It’s striking, there’s no question about it,” said Carroll Doherty, Pew’s director of political research. “For large corporations specifically, members of both parties are saying they have a negative impact on the country.” Businesses are feeling it. Lobbyists reportedly say that while they still have friends in Washington, it has become much harder to get even bipartisan legislation passed. GOP attitudes toward big banks and tech companies took a dive, too, Pew found, and regulation is a growing threat. “Republican leaders obviously listen to their voters,” Doherty said. “The ground is shifting.” We saw this under Trump, who famously went to war with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other industry groups over his trade policies. In the Biden era, companies that wade into policy debates over voting rights and diversity are drawing fire from conservative groups.

Corporate Shaming Consumers’ Research, a Washington-based nonprofit, has launched a multimillion-dollar campaign to agitate against Coca-Cola, American Airlines and other companies with political-style naming-and-shaming ads. Executive Director Will Hild said companies are using hot-button social issues to distract consumers from bad service, forced labor practices and other failings.

Long-Term Energy Storage The Newsom administration is proposing language in the state budget to promote new energy sources—including storage—wind and solar power and fuel cells. Budget trailer bill language that came from Newsom's office would steer roughly $800 million in spending over two years on new energy projects that Newsom and lawmakers agreed to in the June budget. At that time, however, they didn’t specify how the funding would be distributed. Besides setting investment guidelines for grants for hydrogen plants and other projects to reduce greenhouse gases at industrial facilities and food processors, the language would also streamline permitting for wind, solar or energy storage facilities above 50 megawatts. It would extend customer incentives to install fuel cells, which convert natural gas, biomethane or hydrogen into electricity. Environmental groups are worried about the storage language, which they say would benefit a controversial proposal in Southern California to tap an aquifer near Joshua Tree National Park. But they're also objecting to the hydrogen language, which they say is too vague, and the general idea of enacting a raft of policy changes in the last days of the legislative session with no public process. 

But as you can anticipate, the State Building and Construction Trades Council has included a requirement that the project developer (of the long-term energy storage) "use or require its contractors to use multicraft project labor agreements, as defined paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 2500 of the Public Contract Code, for the construction and the contracted out maintenance of the project. Those project labor agreements shall conform to the industry standard agreements recently used for private large thermal power plant projects, including separate agreements for high voltage transmission and related work.”

Delta Variant 'Significantly' Slowing Construction Recovery National nonresidential construction spending expanded 0.1 percent in July, a decrease of 4.2 percent from last year at this time, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of data published Sept. 1 by the U.S. Census Bureau. While the data suggests that commercial construction spending was effectively flat in July, the numbers are "meaningfully worse than they appear," said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu in a press release. When adjusting for inflation, the volume of construction services delivered by the U.S. commercial contractors actually declined in July, he said. Story

COVID Shutdown Lawsuits Cost California More Than $4M For Settlements The San Francisco Chronicle reports "The state of California has settled at least 10 lawsuits this year related to public health orders during the coronavirus pandemic, agreeing to pay more than $4 million to cover the costs of lawyers who sued over restrictions on religious services, schools, strip clubs and tattoo parlors. The 10 settlements, which total nearly $4.36 million for attorneys’ fees and costs, all name Gov. Gavin Newsom as a defendant and were obtained through a public records request to his office by the First Amendment Coalition, a nonprofit organization that promotes free speech and government transparency. As the number of coronavirus cases began to rise in California last year, Newsom established the country’s first statewide shelter-in-place order in March 2020 that shut most activities but provided exceptions for some retailers and other essential services to keep operating. That order paved the way for months of legal battles over which businesses were forced to close, how to reopen schools and whether the governor had the authority to take these steps at all."

Mia Bonta Leads in Special Election East Bay Assembly Race The San Francisco Chronicle reports "Mia Bonta was leading in a special election Tuesday for an East Bay Assembly seat vacated by her husband, California Attorney General Rob Bonta, according to early returns. Bonta, president of the Alameda Unified School District board and CEO of the nonprofit Oakland Promise, received 55 percent of the early vote totals. Her opponent, social justice attorney Janani Ramachandran, received 45 percent and was trailing by roughly 4,500 votes. Every registered voter in the district received a mail-in ballot. Officials from the Alameda County Registrar of Voters said they will next update the vote totals Thursday afternoon. The two candidates were vying to represent the heavily Democratic district that includes San Leandro, Alameda and 80 percent of Oakland. Regardless of who wins, they will help set an all-time record in Sacramento this year: 32.5 percent of the members of the Legislature are women, according to Close the Gap California, which recruits and trains women to run for state office."
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Tuesday, August 31, 2021   Please join us in giving a hearty congratulations to the WECA Southern California Class of 2021!

Read all about our long-awaited in-person graduation ceremony here.





Congratulations, graduates!

WECA held its Southern California Graduation Ceremony for the Class of 2021 on Saturday, August 21 at the Falkner Winery in Temecula, and the event was a lively success!

Attendees were treated to scenic vineyard views, a delicious spread, swag from WECA Industry Partners such as Milwaukee Tool, and a long-awaited celebration of their hard work and dedication, with WECA's Tom Thompson on emcee duty.

"We are thankful that we were able to celebrate our graduates' accomplishments this year," says Thompson. "Not only did we celebrate the 2021 graduates, but we were also joined by and had the opportunity to honor some of last year's graduates who missed out due to their graduation being cancelled by COVID-19. It was a wonderful evening with everyone in great spirits from beginning to end. At times, the excitement and joy in the room was palpable. There were also moments of reflection, focused on gratitude for those who have supported our graduates on their journey, and thoughts of the future and how to prepare for the next chapter in their career. Respects were paid to WECA family members who are no longer with us: Low Voltage instructor Steve Kappes and students Rodrigo Carrillo and Andrew Kohlmann, through a moment of silence. In addition, everyone working onsite and pre-event planning, gave their all to ensure that this graduation flowed seamlessly and was special for our 2020 and 2021 graduates. Graduates who have dealt with and adapted to very peculiar and difficult circumstances over the past year and a half. We are so proud of each and every one of you!"
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Neil Pesarillo, a Low Voltage instructor at WECA's San Diego training facility, concurred by saying "I noticed many attendees having fun and enjoying themselves; definitely a good vibe all around. The crowd really took to the messages of congratulations and gratitude shared by Tom on behalf of the whole WECA team."

Congratulations to all our Southern California Graduates, and we look forward to seeing all that you accomplish in the future!
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Tuesday, August 31, 2021   Congratulations to the WECA Northern California Class of 2021!

Read about how we celebrated our graduates at WECA's Rancho Cordova headquarters





WECA extends a hearty congratulations to the WECA Northern California Class of 2021, who celebrated their graduation at WECA’s Rancho Cordova headquarters on Saturday, August 28th.

The graduation, held in a shaded and cooled tent outside, yielded an impressive turnout of 163 guests (including lots of cute babies!).

It was gratifying to see so many graduates bringing their families along, enjoying delicious food and drink on WECA’s grounds and also giving them tours of WECA’s training facilities! We were also pleased to treat graduates to swag duffle bags stuffed with goodies from Industry Partners like Milwaukee Tool, IDEAL Industries, and Klein Tools, and to the sharp wit of WECA Lead Instructor and Lab Facilities Manager Jimmie Slemp, who served as emcee.

"Graduation was amazing. It was fun to see the staff and students all work together, under difficult circumstances, to celebrate and showcase all of the graduates' dedication and hard work over the past years!", says Galen Eckert, WECA's Electrician Trainee/Continuing Education Program Online Education Manager.

Wendy Flanagan, WECA's Assistant Director of Apprenticeship, also says that "Everyone was excited to be there and celebrating the graduates of 2020 and 2021. There were many babies and young children there; I love seeing the families that are started while they are in their Apprenticeship. And one of the graduates--who could not bring his baby--held up a poster board with a picture of his baby when his [the graduate's] name was called and everyone clapped."

Also in attendance was Glen Forman, the Deputy Chief of the Division of Apprenticeship Standards. It was great to see Glen come out to support our graduates! All in all, the event was a success, and the steadfast support that our graduates receive from their loved ones, employers, instructors, sponsors and other electrical industry stakeholders was evident.

Eckert concurs, giving "A shout-out to all the supportive family members and friends of our graduates, who we all know are a huge help behind the scenes, keeping the family dynamic going as well as supporting our students. Congratulations to everyone involved!"

Congratulations, everyone! We are proud of your hard work and dedication!



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Tuesday, August 31, 2021   We couldn't have pulled it off without the support of our generous sponsors!

Thank you to the following sponsors for supporting the WECA Class of 2021 graduations:

Volts Level Sponsors





(Commercial Division)











Amps Level Sponsors



(Low Voltage Division)







Watts Level Sponsors









Ohms Level Sponsors

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Tuesday, August 31, 2021   Experience the WECA Southern California Class of 2021 graduation ceremony through this video!

2021 WECA Southern California Graduation
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Tuesday, August 31, 2021   Now check out the WECA Northern California Class of 2021 graduation ceremony video!

2021 WECA Northern California Graduation Event
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Tuesday, August 31, 2021   Extra, extra: read our WECA Class of 2021 graduate spotlights!

Robert Castro, Sr. and Robert Castro, Jr.



At WECA, it’s not uncommon to have students going through programs with their siblings (like the Grissom brothers, all Commercial Apprentices) or following in the footsteps of relatives working as electricians or electrical contractors (like Carroll and Mark Mendenhall, the father-son duo behind WECA Member Contractor Mendenhall Electric). However, WECA has never had a father-son pair go through and graduate from their Apprenticeship program at the same time! But Robert Castro, Sr., and Robert Castro, Jr.—both 2021 WECA Southern California Commercial Electrical graduates hailing from our Riverside training facility—have made WECA history.  

Prior to entering the WECA Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship program and apprenticing with WECA Member Contractor Helix Electric, both Robert Sr. and Robert Jr. worked for a small pest control company alongside their respective son and brother, Elijah, also a WECA Commercial Electrical Apprentice! Once Elijah started with WECA, it wasn’t long before Robert Sr. and Robert Jr. followed.  

“Being a commercial electrician is a great-paying job with a future. I had different jobs before that didn’t really go anywhere,” says Robert Sr. 

Meanwhile, Robert Jr. says that “This apprenticeship has put me in a much better position than before I joined it. I have a much more stable job and make a much more comfortable wage as well. I also am in a trade that can take me almost anywhere in the country if I needed to move; I am very grateful to have had this experience. Plus, they [my father and brother] told me how great it was. I thought the program had great opportunities and I was excited to learn a new trade as well.”  

Though Robert Sr. and Robert Jr. went through their Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship program through the WECA Riverside training facility, they unfortunately did not attend classes together due to Robert Sr. having started his apprenticeship program six months prior to Robert Jr. Both father and son, however, say that Keith Smart was their favorite instructor.  

“Keith is very thorough, clear and knowledgeable,” says Robert Sr. 
“He was very knowledgeable about the trade and always had an answer for any question. He was always in a great mood and was also relatable and fun to talk with. He taught us lots of useful things we used in the classroom and out in the field as well,” says Robert Jr. 

Though they weren’t able to partake in classroom instruction together, Robert Sr. and Jr. made up for it by having the opportunity to work together on the job for their employer, Helix Electric. 

“We’re a close family, so spending that extra time together at work and carpooling was nice,” says Robert Sr. 

And on the job, both Robert Sr. and Jr. reported having similar things they most enjoyed.  

“My favorite thing that I learned during my apprenticeship was working on a hospital generator system; it was a great learning experience,” says Robert Sr.  

Likewise, Robert Jr. says that “My most memorable job was at a hospital in Loma Linda. It was a 16-story children’s hospital and I did a majority of my work there on a floor that only had air handlers. There were 30-plus handlers the size of shipping containers on the floor, and I found it very fun to bring the power and see them turned on.” 

Robert Sr. says that after graduation, he plans to stay with Helix Electric to continue his education and move up in the company.  

Robert Jr., meanwhile, says he wants to learn more about the trade and become a better journeyman, and use his skills and knowledge when he moves out of state.  

Robert Jr. advises that current and future apprentices “Should stay focused in class and in the field and always have a positive attitude. It is worth all the work you put in. And, this is one of the best opportunities you can take advantage of. Stay determined and learn from the smartest and best students and workers you come into contact with, too.”

Southern California Commercial Electrical Valedictorian Donald Williams



Being a Commercial Electrician can take you to unexpected places. For 2021 Southern California Commercial Electrical Graduate and Valedictorian Donald Williams, it literally took him to SeaWorld, where he works as an electrician. 

“I am touching and doing things that I have never done. It is exciting and full of learning opportunities. I am also now able to use my knowledge to help animals and make sure they are taken care of,” says Williams. 

But before Williams got to spend his days in the presence of sea creatures, he was working warehouse and retail jobs until he became an Electrician Trainee and then a Commercial Electrical Apprentice with WECA. 

“I started with WECA as an Electrician Trainee in the GetWired 101 course,” says Williams. “Halfway through that, I became an indentured Apprentice, finished up the 101 course, and started my Apprenticeship.” 

Williams apprenticed with two member contractors during his time with WECA; first Bergelectric, and then he finished out his Apprenticeship with Northwest Edison. Both employers—coupled with his classroom learning at WECA—introduced him to many aspects of the trade.  

“Everything from underground to estimating and project engineering. My on-the-job training was very extensive. The on-the-job training taught me to overcome and work through the stressful situations that accompany construction. At WECA, I was introduced to motors and motor controls and having the hands-on training in that from WECA got me hired. WECA gave me a career and a way to support my wife and three kids,” says Williams.
 
Williams says that he was able to become the Commercial Electrical Valedictorian of the Southern California Class of 2021 by shooting for the top from day one.  

“I made sure to ask questions with things I didn’t understand,” says Williams. “I listened and took notes to refer to. I also helped others who didn’t understand and in return it solidified what I already knew.” 

Williams also says that “Nobody is perfect, we all make mistakes. The willingness to own up to and learn from those mistakes is what separates the average electrician from the best electricians. Listen to learn, not to respond. It’s also okay not to know something, but always ask questions and write it down if you need to.” 

Though Williams is tenacious and insightful, he also credits his success to his wife, to WECA’s San Diego instructional team, and to 2021 Southern California Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship Salutatorian Justin Salter. 

Says Williams. “I want to give a shout-out to Justin Salter, the salutatorian, who provided friendly competition and was someone I was able to bounce ideas off of. He was always open to answering questions and had no problem telling me when I was wrong. And to my wife, for dealing with the sometimes long hours and long drives I had to take when I was working. She’s always been super supportive. I knew I always had a loving home to come to after a long day at work. There’s many others I could give shout-outs to like my foreman, project managers, and journeymen, but I’ve got to keep this short.” 

Now that Williams has graduated from WECA—as the Commercial Electrical Valedictorian for the Southern California Class of 2021 to boot—he says that one day he would love to teach and give his knowledge to others so they can be successful like he has been. 

Southern California Commercial Electrical Salutatorian Justin Salter



“WECA really puts your life on track to succeed,” says Justin Salter, 2021 Southern California Commercial Graduate and Salutatorian. “And I truly believe the WECA program is fantastic. When you first start out, five years seems like a very long time. However, with the combination of fantastic healthcare, regular raises and more—it’s not many fields in life where you can get paid a good wage while being formally trained in your chosen career. Coming out of it, making the kind of money electricians make while being debt-free—I know many of my friends who went to college instead regret going that route because of the massive hole they now have to climb out of. It’s a very good career option.”

Salter, who spent his Apprenticeship with Bergelectric, says that being with Bergelectric has been a life changing experience for him.

“I haven’t regretted it for a second. I went from a dead-end job to a sky’s the limit career. I’m now almost six years in and feel like I’m just getting started. I have more opportunities now than I had before, and a ladder to climb!”, says Salter.

Salter also says that WECA’s education prepared him for his career by making him take his education seriously and pushing for opportunities at Bergelectric.

“I found myself in a leadership role and making decisions on the job daily,” says Salter. “I was very pleasantly surprised at how prepared I was to make choices. Whether it was sizing wire for long pulls and doing voltage drop and derating calcs, sizing fuses for RTU’s, or determining ground and bonding throughout the building…I felt capable of either easily knowing the answer or knowing how to find the answer. It was a huge confidence boost to know that I was capable of making these determinations and it was a huge part of being prepared for my career of choice.”

While with WECA, Justin completed his in-classroom learning at our San Diego training facility. “I consider my classes with Tom Thompson and then Talon Pobuda to be invaluable…I always appreciated insights while using their real-world experience to what we were learning and how it would apply to us in the field. This added a depth of understanding we wouldn’t have gotten otherwise, and labs and hands-on work during class was invaluable to applying to what we were being taught,” says Salter.

Salter believes that one of the most important factors in doing well at WECA is truly taking your education seriously.

“Not just going through the motions to get through the class and gathering enough information to try to take your journeyworker test,” says Salter. “It’s important to really try and understand what we’re being taught and strive to understand it better with each class. To ask questions when you don’t understand and try to apply what you’re learning in the field. I think a good mechanical aptitude is helpful to jump-starting your career. While it is a skill that can be learned, it definitely helps to progress your career if you’re handy going into it.”

Southern California Low Voltage Apprenticeship Graduate Drew Sisson



Bowling led 2021 Southern California Low Voltage Graduate Drew Sisson to WECA and a career as a Low Voltage Technician.

“It all started with a friend I knew from bowling who offered me a job,” says Sisson. “He started my path on the career I now have.”

Sisson, who attended the Low Voltage Apprenticeship program at WECA’s San Diego training facility and apprenticed with WECA Member Contractors Tri Signal Integration and Bergelectric, says that his WECA experience was enjoyable and allowed him to meet many good people that he continues to talk to today.

“Neil [Pesarillo], my instructor, was great and made it not seem like going to school. A WECA education prepared me in a way which challenged me to think critically. Most importantly, it prepared me to pass my certifications which are becoming more and more important in the industry, due to the fact that prevailing wage jobs are now requiring certified people.”

Sisson continues, saying that “WECA provided me with a career. I had worked many jobs and still could not say I had an actual career. It may not have been my original choice of what I wanted to be or do, but I have work every day and I make good money now.”

Meanwhile, Sisson says that his on-the-job training with employers Tri Signal Integration and Bergelectric were good experiences.

“It’s like with any new job, you have to learn what you are doing and it is up to you to absorb as much as information as you can,” says Sisson. “Doing this will only benefit you and give you recognition, allowing you to rise faster in the field. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and hustle. You won’t learn anything or be taught anything if you don’t show you are willing and eager to learn. Respect is a huge thing in this field, and you won’t be taught [on-the-job] if people don’t think you are worth it.”

Reflecting upon his time with WECA, Sisson says to “Pay attention to what the instructor is saying and relax. Don’t overthink it and simplify everything. It may seem like a lot with the code books, but don’t overcomplicate it. Work hard and enjoy your time at WECA. Think of it as a vacation and not school and you will enjoy it.”

Now that he’s graduated, Sisson says that he plans to continue to get more certifications to try and progress and grow in the field.

But there’s one person that he couldn’t have done all this without.

“I want to give a shout-out to my girlfriend Amanda, whom I love the most."

Southern California Low Voltage Apprenticeship Graduate Garrett Wallace



2021 Southern California Low Voltage Apprentice graduate Garrett Wallace says that if people are interested in becoming Low Voltage Technicians, “WECA is the best way to help your career.”

“I went to WECA for three years [while apprenticing with Bergelectric] to do the Low Voltage classes,” says Wallace. “It was a great experience and flew by. WECA gave me an amazing career and helped over the last few years to be better at my job.”

Wallace says that the WECA program helped prepare him for his career by “Helping me understand how certain systems work and helped us understand how to go through the code book. Being able to navigate the code book really helps us out a lot in the field to make sure everything is up to code.”

Additionally, Wallace says that current and future Low Voltage Apprentices should work hard in class and make sure they learn in the best way possible to navigate the code books, and always make sure to study for tests and take lots of notes.

Wallace also gives his employer, Bergelectric, rave reviews.

“Working with Bergelectric has helped me out a lot because everyone I work with helped me be better,” says Wallace. “Bergelectric helped me do things the correct way and always answered any questions I had. My on-the-job training has helped out a lot with being better at my job. Over the last few years, I have learned so much by being on-the-job and learning more every day.”

In fact, Wallace plans to stay on with Bergelectric now that he has graduated.

“I plan to move up at Bergelectric and become a foreman and keep getting better at my job by learning new things and bettering myself. I plan on also getting a couple fire alarm certifications and continuing to learn more about the code book.”

Wallace also extends shout-outs to “Bergelectric for hiring me and helping me through my career.” He also thanks his instructor, Neil Pesarillo from WECA’s San Diego training facility, because “he helped all of us so much and was always willing to answer all our questions. And I would also like to thank my fiancée for being supportive and always pushing me to be better.

Northern California Double-Program Graduate Autumn DeChaine



It’s not everyday that WECA gets to graduate an Apprentice who has succeeded in not just one—but two!—Apprenticeship programs. That’s the case with 2021 Northern California Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship graduate Autumn DeChaine, who also graduated (as Valedictorian!) from WECA’s Low Voltage Apprenticeship program in 2014.

“I’m really glad that I chose to graduate from the Low Voltage Apprenticeship program before joining the Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship program,” says DeChaine. “It added value to my career as an electrician and gave me a good foundation before going into the Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship program.”

DeChaine says that the Low Voltage Apprenticeship program and the Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship program are similar in that they both follow the WECA structure of class time and homework, but obviously differ in terms of the curriculum.

“The main difference between working as a Low Voltage Apprentice and a Commercial Electrical Apprentice is that as a Low Voltage Apprentice, you are responsible for knowing one or two systems (fire life safety or voice data video). As an electrician, you are on the job from the very beginning and you are responsible for all the electrical systems,” says DeChaine.

DeChaine says that her favorite part of the Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship program was going back to work after time in the classroom and integrating what she learned.

“I also enjoyed the camaraderie of going to school with the same people year after year and supporting each other,” says DeChaine. “As far as the curriculum, I loved learning motor controls and relay logic.”

Now that DeChaine has completed both programs, she says that she still has a lot to learn and plans on running bigger projects in the future.

And, DeChaine adds that she has been with her company, Vanden Bos Electric, for nine years and still loves it there. DeChaine says she plans to incorporate all her education and work on both fire life safety and electrical systems.

“I just completed my first project as a foreman. There is a lot incorporated in running projects that you don’t think about as an Apprentice or Journeyman; I learned a lot and am optimistic about my future with Vanden Bos Electric,” says DeChaine.
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Tuesday, August 31, 2021   Low Voltage Apprenticeship graduates can seek college credits for program completion at WECA!



The Details

WECA has a big announcement! Our Low Voltage Electrical Apprenticeship program has received college credit recommendations from NCCRS (the National College Credit Recommendation Service).

This benefit provides WECA low voltage apprentices the ability to gain access to college credit for completion of this three-year apprenticeship program by using the credit recommendation(s) set forth by NCCRS. The Low Voltage Electrical Apprenticeship program joins WECA's Commercial Electrical and Residential Electrical Apprenticeship programs, which each previously received college credit recommendations from NCCRS in 2018.

"We’re gratified to receive this college credit recommendation for our Low Voltage Electrical Apprenticeship program, which now joins our Commercial Electrical and Residential Electrical Apprenticeship Programs in giving our apprenticeship graduates a route towards receiving substantial college credits for the programs they’ve already completed at WECA,” said Terry Seabury, WECA’s Executive Director and CEO. “We appreciate the external validation that our comprehensive, competency-based curriculum featuring skilled teaching by credentialed instructors and technicallyadvanced, hands-on labs is of equivalent rigor to courses held at a traditional four-year college or university.”

"NCCRS is pleased to recommend college credit for WECA’s Low Voltage Electrical Apprenticeship program,” NCCRS Director Lisa Sax Mahoney said. "Through our professional evaluations, we support the recognition of high-quality workforce training programs delivered by qualified organizations across the country."

Founded in 1973 by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York, the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS), located in Albany, New York, is an organization that evaluates and establishes college credit recommendations for courses offered by government, industry, and other noncollegiate sponsors.

NCCRS collaborates with more than 1,500 organizations and institutions of higher education across the United States and beyond. NCCRS member organizations include state government agencies, apprenticeship sponsors, corporations, and community and faith-based organizations. A few longstanding members include the City of New York Police Department (NYPD), the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY), and Consolidated Edison. Since its inception, NCCRS has evaluated and recommended college credit for more than 5,200 courses, exams, and educational programs enabling individuals to gain access to college credit for successful completion of qualified learning.
 
Learn more about NCCRS and view their college credit recommendations for WECA here.

Using This Benefit: A Guide for our Apprentices and Graduates 

Q: Who is eligible?

A: Any graduates of WECA's Low Voltage Apprenticeship program in the Class of 2021, or beyond. (Any graduates of WECA's Commercial or Residential Electrical Apprenticeships since September of 2013 are eligible for those programs. (NCCRS granted eligibility for those programs going back five years, and evaluated WECA's Commercial and Residential programs in Autumn of 2018.)

Q: So WECA apprentice grads automatically have college credits?

A:  No. NCCRS makes college credit recommendations. (From NCCRS:
A college credit recommendation is an academic advisement about the comparability of a learning experience to college-level instruction, such as undergraduate or graduate course work, the amount of credit that may be awarded, and areas where credit could apply. The credit recommendations are intended to guide college officials as they consider awarding credit to persons who have successfully completed NCCRS evaluated learning experiences. College credit recommendations are not actual college credit because the New York State Board of Regents does not award college credit. Through the results of the NCCRS evaluations, however, the Board of Regents encourages colleges and universities to consider accepting the credit recommendations.)

Q: How Does Acceptance of College Credit Recommendations work?

A: It is up to the college or university to choose whether to grant college credits, how many, and in what subjects, for completion of a WECA program. NCCRS recommends specific credit amounts and subjects. College and university admissions departments should reference NCCRS' WECA listing at http://www.nationalccrs.org/organizations/western-electrical-contractors for specific recommendations. NCCRS recommends up to 30 semester credit hours for completion of WECA's Low Voltage Electrical program, up to 66 semester credit hours for completion of WECA's Commerical Electrical program, up to 40 semester credit hours for completion of WECA's Residential Electrical program. 

Q: How Do WECA Commercial, Residential, and Low Voltage Electrical Apprenticeship Graduates Use This Benefit?

A: Apprentices grads should:
1. Identify the college or university they wish to ask to accept a credit recommendation from NCCRS for work completed at WECA. (A list of colleges and universities who have previously participated with NCCRS is here: http://www.nationalccrs.org/colleges-universities. Seeing a college or university on this list is a promising sign that they will consider NCCRS' recommendation, but is not a guarantee. Further, just because a college or university is not yet shown on the list does not mean the apprentice grad shouldn't request that they consider the credit recommendation.)
2. Work with their admissions advisor at their college or university of choice to learn the process for seeking college credits for their WECA Commercial, Residential, or Low Voltage Electrical program completion. The college or university may refer to this as their PLA (prior learning assessment) process or policy. The applicant should share NCCRS' WECA credit recommendation 
http://www.nationalccrs.org/organizations/western-electrical-contractors with the decision-makers at their college or university.
3. Request a transcript from WECA as requested by their college or university. Email apregistrar@goweca.com with transcript requests.
4. If the applicant encounters problems with their transfer credit request, they can contact NCCRS so that NCCRS can advocate on the applicant's behalf.

Q: What about the Electrician Trainee Program?

A: WECA is currently evaluating demand for college credit recommendations for its Electrician Trainee program.

Q: What if I still have questions?

?A: Please call us at 1-877-444-9322 and we'll do our best to help you out.
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Tuesday, August 31, 2021   Electrician Trainee Advisory: ? Seats in Session 4 (Oct-Dec 2021) GetWired Courses Filling Fast



Attention Journeymen and Electrician Trainees: Our Fall 2021 (Oct. 1 - Dec. 31) course catalog is available on our website, and classes are filling fast with many already closed to further enrollments, so be sure to enroll ASAP to get your spot!

View the Electrician Trainee course catalog here.

Jump to the Journeyman continuing education course catalog here. 

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--classes going fast!

If you have any questions regarding a particular course, please call (877) 444-9322 or email us at info@goweca.com.
Read more >>


Tuesday, August 31, 2021   Commercial Apprentices: if you haven't completed your open enrollment form, please do so now!

Commercial Apprentices:

If you have not completed the United Healthcare (UHC) enrollment form please do so now and return to Cindy Cormier at ccormier@goweca.com. You must complete the UHC enrollment form even if you are not making any changes. Please log into www.goweca.com using your WECA ID and password, click on Commercial Apprentice Benefits, next page scroll down where you will see the UHC enrollment form. Complete sections A, B if enrolling a spouse and/or dependents, C, G and H. If you have any questions please call (916)453-0112 ext. 117 or email ccormier@goweca.com.
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Monday, August 30, 2021   WECA Industry Partner Spotlight: OneSource Distributors

Electrical and industrial distribution for commercial, residential and solar electrical contractors in California, Arizona, Hawaii and Mexico



WECA’s Industry Partners strive to make our Member Contractors’ jobs easier.

And our newest Industry Partner, OneSource Distributors, is a valuable addition to our arsenal.

Founded in 1983, San Diego-based OneSource Distributors is an electrical and industrial distributor with 19 locations across California, Arizona, Hawaii and Baja California in Mexico. In 2011, OneSource Distributors joined the Sonepar group, which is an independent family-owned company that in turn owns 14 independently managed operating companies with over 700 locations in the United States.

“We provide innovative services and solutions that make it easy and efficient for customers work with us,” says Steve Reyno, GM and Director of Business Development at OneSource Distributors. Serving commercial, residential, utility, contractor and industrial markets, OneSource’s mission includes continuous focus on customer needs, quality and service. The company’s core values are focused on ongoing improvement and are embodied in their 10 Principles of Personal Leadership.

“We partnered with WECA because we are passionate about supporting WECA’s mission to train, educate and develop the current and future skilled trades workforce,” says Reyno. “We hope to be a resource for WECA Member Contractors, and to help its members become familiar with current and new products and solutions in the electrical space.”

OneSource Distributors offers a full line of electrical and automation products and services. Among these products are indoor, outdoor and industrial lighting and controls, Siemens distribution gear, all types of safety products, enclosures, wire and cable, wiring devices, solar, renewables and EV charging stations, and tools and testing products.

“We also include value-added services like digital solutions, project management, product packaging, safety assessment and training, vendor managed inventory, material handling cages, storage lockers, and more,” says Reyno. Learn more about all the products and services OneSource Distributors offers, or download their contractor line card.

OneSource Distributors makes it easy to for WECA Member Contractors to become customers. Visit the OneSource website at 1sourcedist.com and click “become a customer” to set up an account to easily get quotes, convert quotes to orders, track material and review previously purchased products. Or simply call (800) 266-9111 or contact your OneSource sales representative. You can also visit in person at one of the company’s sales centers.

But that’s not all OneSource Distributors has on offer. WECA Member Contractors can take advantage of ongoing programs and discounts. Find these is by contacting your sales representative, calling OneSource us at (800) 266-9111, or by emailing sales@1sourcedist.com.
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Thursday, August 26, 2021   Please join us in giving a hearty congratulations to the WECA Southern California Class of 2021!

Read all about our long-awaited in-person graduation ceremony here.





Congratulations, graduates!

WECA held its Southern California Graduation Ceremony for the Class of 2021 on Saturday, August 21 at the Falkner Winery in Temecula, and the event was a lively success!

Attendees were treated to scenic vineyard views, a delicious spread, swag from WECA Industry Partners such as Milwaukee Tool, and a long-awaited celebration of their hard work and dedication, with WECA's Tom Thompson on emcee duty.

"We are thankful that we were able to celebrate our graduates' accomplishments this year," says Thompson. "Not only did we celebrate the 2021 graduates, but we were also joined by and had the opportunity to honor some of last year's graduates who missed out due to their graduation being cancelled by COVID-19. It was a wonderful evening with everyone in great spirits from beginning to end. At times, the excitement and joy in the room was palpable. There were also moments of reflection, focused on gratitude for those who have supported our graduates on their journey, and thoughts of the future and how to prepare for the next chapter in their career. Respects were paid to WECA family members who are no longer with us: Low Voltage instructor Steve Kappes and students Rodrigo Carrillo and Andrew Kohlmann, through a moment of silence. In addition, everyone working onsite and pre-event planning, gave their all to ensure that this graduation flowed seamlessly and was special for our 2020 and 2021 graduates. Graduates who have dealt with and adapted to very peculiar and difficult circumstances over the past year and a half. We are so proud of each and every one of you!"

Neil Pesarillo, a Low Voltage instructor at WECA's San Diego training facility, concurred by saying "I noticed many attendees having fun and enjoying themselves; definitely a good vibe all around. The crowd really took to the messages of congratulations and gratitude shared by Tom on behalf of the whole WECA team."

Congratulations to all our Southern California Graduates, and we look forward to seeing all that you accomplish in the future!

Stay tuned for Northern California graduation--it's coming up this Saturday, August 28th!
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Thursday, August 26, 2021   Please join us in thanking the generous sponsors of our 2021 graduation ceremonies! ?

Thank you to the following sponsors for sponsoring the WECA Class of 2021 Graduations:

Volts Level Sponsors





(Commercial Division)













Amps Level Sponsors



(Low Voltage Division)







Watts Level Sponsors









Ohms Level Sponsors


 
Read more >>


Thursday, August 26, 2021   But that's not all! Experience the Southern California Class of 2021 graduation through this video!

2021 WECA Southern California Graduation
Read more >>


Thursday, August 26, 2021   We're on a roll here! Check out this year's spotlights on our Southern California graduates!

Robert Castro, Sr. and Robert Castro, Jr.



At WECA, it’s not uncommon to have students going through programs with their siblings (like the Grissom brothers, all Commercial Apprentices) or following in the footsteps of relatives working as electricians or electrical contractors (like Carroll and Mark Mendenhall, the father-son duo behind WECA Member Contractor Mendenhall Electric). However, WECA has never had a father-son pair go through and graduate from their Apprenticeship program at the same time! But Robert Castro, Sr., and Robert Castro, Jr.—both 2021 WECA Southern California Commercial Electrical graduates hailing from our Riverside training facility—have made WECA history.  

Prior to entering the WECA Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship program and apprenticing with WECA Member Contractor Helix Electric, both Robert Sr. and Robert Jr. worked for a small pest control company alongside their respective son and brother, Elijah, also a WECA Commercial Electrical Apprentice! Once Elijah started with WECA, it wasn’t long before Robert Sr. and Robert Jr. followed.  

“Being a commercial electrician is a great-paying job with a future. I had different jobs before that didn’t really go anywhere,” says Robert Sr. 

Meanwhile, Robert Jr. says that “This apprenticeship has put me in a much better position than before I joined it. I have a much more stable job and make a much more comfortable wage as well. I also am in a trade that can take me almost anywhere in the country if I needed to move; I am very grateful to have had this experience. Plus, they [my father and brother] told me how great it was. I thought the program had great opportunities and I was excited to learn a new trade as well.”  

Though Robert Sr. and Robert Jr. went through their Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship program through the WECA Riverside training facility, they unfortunately did not attend classes together due to Robert Sr. having started his apprenticeship program six months prior to Robert Jr. Both father and son, however, say that Keith Smart was their favorite instructor.  

“Keith is very thorough, clear and knowledgeable,” says Robert Sr. 
“He was very knowledgeable about the trade and always had an answer for any question. He was always in a great mood and was also relatable and fun to talk with. He taught us lots of useful things we used in the classroom and out in the field as well,” says Robert Jr. 

Though they weren’t able to partake in classroom instruction together, Robert Sr. and Jr. made up for it by having the opportunity to work together on the job for their employer, Helix Electric. 

“We’re a close family, so spending that extra time together at work and carpooling was nice,” says Robert Sr. 

And on the job, both Robert Sr. and Jr. reported having similar things they most enjoyed.  

“My favorite thing that I learned during my apprenticeship was working on a hospital generator system; it was a great learning experience,” says Robert Sr.  

Likewise, Robert Jr. says that “My most memorable job was at a hospital in Loma Linda. It was a 16-story children’s hospital and I did a majority of my work there on a floor that only had air handlers. There were 30-plus handlers the size of shipping containers on the floor, and I found it very fun to bring the power and see them turned on.” 

Robert Sr. says that after graduation, he plans to stay with Helix Electric to continue his education and move up in the company.  

Robert Jr., meanwhile, says he wants to learn more about the trade and become a better journeyman, and use his skills and knowledge when he moves out of state.  

Robert Jr. advises that current and future apprentices “Should stay focused in class and in the field and always have a positive attitude. It is worth all the work you put in. And, this is one of the best opportunities you can take advantage of. Stay determined and learn from the smartest and best students and workers you come into contact with, too.”
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Thursday, August 26, 2021   Southern California Commercial Electrical Valedictorian Donald Williams



Being a Commercial Electrician can take you to unexpected places. For 2021 Southern California Commercial Electrical Graduate and Valedictorian Donald Williams, it literally took him to SeaWorld, where he works as an electrician. 

“I am touching and doing things that I have never done. It is exciting and full of learning opportunities. I am also now able to use my knowledge to help animals and make sure they are taken care of,” says Williams. 

But before Williams got to spend his days in the presence of sea creatures, he was working warehouse and retail jobs until he became an Electrician Trainee and then a Commercial Electrical Apprentice with WECA. 

“I started with WECA as an Electrician Trainee in the GetWired 101 course,” says Williams. “Halfway through that, I became an indentured Apprentice, finished up the 101 course, and started my Apprenticeship.” 

Williams apprenticed with two member contractors during his time with WECA; first Bergelectric, and then he finished out his Apprenticeship with Northwest Edison. Both employers—coupled with his classroom learning at WECA—introduced him to many aspects of the trade.  

“Everything from underground to estimating and project engineering. My on-the-job training was very extensive. The on-the-job training taught me to overcome and work through the stressful situations that accompany construction. At WECA, I was introduced to motors and motor controls and having the hands-on training in that from WECA got me hired. WECA gave me a career and a way to support my wife and three kids,” says Williams.

Williams says that he was able to become the Commercial Electrical Valedictorian of the Southern California Class of 2021 by shooting for the top from day one.  

“I made sure to ask questions with things I didn’t understand,” says Williams. “I listened and took notes to refer to. I also helped others who didn’t understand and in return it solidified what I already knew.” 

Williams also says that “Nobody is perfect, we all make mistakes. The willingness to own up to and learn from those mistakes is what separates the average electrician from the best electricians. Listen to learn, not to respond. It’s also okay not to know something, but always ask questions and write it down if you need to.” 

Though Williams is tenacious and insightful, he also credits his success to his wife, to WECA’s San Diego instructional team, and to 2021 Southern California Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship Salutatorian Justin Salter. 

Says Williams. “I want to give a shout-out to Justin Salter, the salutatorian, who provided friendly competition and was someone I was able to bounce ideas off of. He was always open to answering questions and had no problem telling me when I was wrong. And to my wife, for dealing with the sometimes long hours and long drives I had to take when I was working. She’s always been super supportive. I knew I always had a loving home to come to after a long day at work. There’s many others I could give shout-outs to like my foreman, project managers, and journeymen, but I’ve got to keep this short.” 

Now that Williams has graduated from WECA—as the Commercial Electrical Valedictorian for the Southern California Class of 2021 to boot—he says that one day he would love to teach and give his knowledge to others so they can be successful like he has been.  
Read more >>


Thursday, August 26, 2021   Southern California Commercial Electrical Salutatorian Justin Salter



“WECA really puts your life on track to succeed,” says Justin Salter, 2021 Southern California Commercial Graduate and Salutatorian. “And I truly believe the WECA program is fantastic. When you first start out, five years seems like a very long time. However, with the combination of fantastic healthcare, regular raises and more—it’s not many fields in life where you can get paid a good wage while being formally trained in your chosen career. Coming out of it, making the kind of money electricians make while being debt-free—I know many of my friends who went to college instead regret going that route because of the massive hole they now have to climb out of. It’s a very good career option.”

Salter, who spent his Apprenticeship with Bergelectric, says that being with Bergelectric has been a life changing experience for him.

“I haven’t regretted it for a second. I went from a dead-end job to a sky’s the limit career. I’m now almost six years in and feel like I’m just getting started. I have more opportunities now than I had before, and a ladder to climb!”, says Salter.

Salter also says that WECA’s education prepared him for his career by making him take his education seriously and pushing for opportunities at Bergelectric.

“I found myself in a leadership role and making decisions on the job daily,” says Salter. “I was very pleasantly surprised at how prepared I was to make choices. Whether it was sizing wire for long pulls and doing voltage drop and derating calcs, sizing fuses for RTU’s, or determining ground and bonding throughout the building…I felt capable of either easily knowing the answer or knowing how to find the answer. It was a huge confidence boost to know that I was capable of making these determinations and it was a huge part of being prepared for my career of choice.”

While with WECA, Justin completed his in-classroom learning at our San Diego training facility. “I consider my classes with Tom Thompson and then Talon Pobuda to be invaluable…I always appreciated insights while using their real-world experience to what we were learning and how it would apply to us in the field. This added a depth of understanding we wouldn’t have gotten otherwise, and labs and hands-on work during class was invaluable to applying to what we were being taught,” says Salter.

Salter believes that one of the most important factors in doing well at WECA is truly taking your education seriously.

“Not just going through the motions to get through the class and gathering enough information to try to take your journeyworker test,” says Salter. “It’s important to really try and understand what we’re being taught and strive to understand it better with each class. To ask questions when you don’t understand and try to apply what you’re learning in the field. I think a good mechanical aptitude is helpful to jump-starting your career. While it is a skill that can be learned, it definitely helps to progress your career if you’re handy going into it.”
Read more >>


Thursday, August 26, 2021   Southern California Low Voltage Apprenticeship Graduate Drew Sisson



Bowling led 2021 Southern California Low Voltage Graduate Drew Sisson to WECA and a career as a Low Voltage Technician.

“It all started with a friend I knew from bowling who offered me a job,” says Sisson. “He started my path on the career I now have.”

Sisson, who attended the Low Voltage Apprenticeship program at WECA’s San Diego training facility and apprenticed with WECA Member Contractors Tri Signal Integration and Bergelectric, says that his WECA experience was enjoyable and allowed him to meet many good people that he continues to talk to today.

“Neil [Pesarillo], my instructor, was great and made it not seem like going to school. A WECA education prepared me in a way which challenged me to think critically. Most importantly, it prepared me to pass my certifications which are becoming more and more important in the industry, due to the fact that prevailing wage jobs are now requiring certified people.”

Sisson continues, saying that “WECA provided me with a career. I had worked many jobs and still could not say I had an actual career. It may not have been my original choice of what I wanted to be or do, but I have work every day and I make good money now.”

Meanwhile, Sisson says that his on-the-job training with employers Tri Signal Integration and Bergelectric were good experiences.

“It’s like with any new job, you have to learn what you are doing and it is up to you to absorb as much as information as you can,” says Sisson. “Doing this will only benefit you and give you recognition, allowing you to rise faster in the field. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and hustle. You won’t learn anything or be taught anything if you don’t show you are willing and eager to learn. Respect is a huge thing in this field, and you won’t be taught [on-the-job] if people don’t think you are worth it.”

Reflecting upon his time with WECA, Sisson says to “Pay attention to what the instructor is saying and relax. Don’t overthink it and simplify everything. It may seem like a lot with the code books, but don’t overcomplicate it. Work hard and enjoy your time at WECA. Think of it as a vacation and not school and you will enjoy it.”

Now that he’s graduated, Sisson says that he plans to continue to get more certifications to try and progress and grow in the field.

But there’s one person that he couldn’t have done all this without.

“I want to give a shout-out to my girlfriend Amanda, whom I love the most."
Read more >>


Thursday, August 26, 2021   Southern California Low Voltage Apprenticeship Graduate Garrett Wallace



2021 Southern California Low Voltage Apprentice graduate Garrett Wallace says that if people are interested in becoming Low Voltage Technicians, “WECA is the best way to help your career.”

“I went to WECA for three years [while apprenticing with Bergelectric] to do the Low Voltage classes,” says Wallace. “It was a great experience and flew by. WECA gave me an amazing career and helped over the last few years to be better at my job.”

Wallace says that the WECA program helped prepare him for his career by “Helping me understand how certain systems work and helped us understand how to go through the code book. Being able to navigate the code book really helps us out a lot in the field to make sure everything is up to code.”

Additionally, Wallace says that current and future Low Voltage Apprentices should work hard in class and make sure they learn in the best way possible to navigate the code books, and always make sure to study for tests and take lots of notes.

Wallace also gives his employer, Bergelectric, rave reviews.

“Working with Bergelectric has helped me out a lot because everyone I work with helped me be better,” says Wallace. “Bergelectric helped me do things the correct way and always answered any questions I had. My on-the-job training has helped out a lot with being better at my job. Over the last few years, I have learned so much by being on-the-job and learning more every day.”

In fact, Wallace plans to stay on with Bergelectric now that he has graduated.

“I plan to move up at Bergelectric and become a foreman and keep getting better at my job by learning new things and bettering myself. I plan on also getting a couple fire alarm certifications and continuing to learn more about the code book.”

Wallace also extends shout-outs to “Bergelectric for hiring me and helping me through my career.” He also thanks his instructor, Neil Pesarillo from WECA’s San Diego training facility, because “he helped all of us so much and was always willing to answer all our questions. And I would also like to thank my fiancée for being supportive and always pushing me to be better.
Read more >>


Thursday, August 26, 2021   Learn More About Updated CDPH Guidance Recommending Face Coverings Indoors

Cal/OSHA Encourages Employers and Workers to Follow Updated CDPH Guidance Recommending Face Coverings Indoors

Content courtesy of: Cal/OSHA and California Department of Industrial Relations
?


Oakland—In addition to the requirements of the COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) and as a best practice, Cal/OSHA encourages employers and workers to follow the recent update from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recommending that all individuals wear face coverings while indoors regardless of vaccination status.

CDPH recently updated its Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings to include that recommendation due to the recent increase of COVID-19 infections in the workplace. For more specifics on the recent updates from CDPH, please refer to their fact sheet When Do You Need Your Mask in California? 

Employers should ensure that any employee who requests a face covering at work is provided one, as required by the ETS.

Cal/OSHA helps protect workers from health and safety hazards on the job in almost every workplace in California. Employers who have questions or need assistance with workplace safety and health programs, including assistance with developing a COVID-19 prevention program at their worksite, can call Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Services Branch at 800-963-9424.

Workers who have questions about COVID-19 hazards at work can call 833-579-0927 to speak with a Cal/OSHA representative during normal business hours. Complaints about workplace safety and health hazards can be filed confidentially with Cal/OSHA district offices.


Employers with Questions on Requirements May Contact: InfoCons@dir.ca.gov or call your local Cal/OSHA Consultation Office
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Thursday, August 26, 2021   Save the date for WECA's Fresno Open House on Oct. 13!

Read more >>


Thursday, August 26, 2021   Learn More About Proposed New Building Trades Requirements for San Diego County Projects

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors has proposed a new building trades requirement for San Diego County projects--Fair Employment Standards on County Construction Projects, and County-Owned Leased Property.

On July 13, 2021, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors discussed a new building trades encouraged requirement on County construction projects called the Fair Employment Standards on County Construction Projects, and County-Owned Leased Property. The Board directed the County’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) to return to the Board in 90 days with a draft “Working Families Ordinance,” prequalification policy, proposed amendments to existing policies, and a report on the estimated impact of implementing the Working Families Ordinance on County construction projects and County-owned leased property.
 
If adopted by the Board, the proposed ordinance would impact prospective contractors and subcontractors on County public works contracts. Essential items of note in the proposed ordinance include:

Any contractor and its subcontractors (at any level) performing construction under a contract that is greater than $500,000 that the County awards following the Public Contract Code (“County Construction Contracts”) shall:
 
·        Pay employees the higher of any prevailing wage rates set by the California Department of Industrial Relations, minimum wage, living wage or similar wage rates set by the County by ordinance, and local, State, or federal minimum or similar wage rates if applicable to the work.

 Utilize a skilled and trained workforce to complete County Construction Contracts as outlined in Public Contract Code 2600.

·        Provide employees working on County Construction Contracts with paid sick leave, which will minimally accumulate up to 56 hours per year.

If adopted by the Board, the proposed ordinance will impact parties that lease, sublease, license, or conduct business on County-owned property. Essential items of note in the proposed ordinance include:
 
·        Employees and contractors working on or from County-owned property shall be paid the higher of any prevailing wage rates set by the California Department of Industrial Relations; minimum wage, a living wage, or similar wage rates that the County may establish by ordinance; and local, State, or federal minimum or similar wage rates if applicable to the work.

Lessee Parties (as defined in the draft of the proposed ordinance) will provide their employees working on or from County-owned property with paid sick leave, which will minimally accumulate up to 56 hours per year.
 
The Board also directed the CAO to return to the Board with a prequalification policy for prospective bidders and proposers on public works contracts in alignment with the model questionnaire developed by the State Department of Industrial Relations

The meeting date for the Board’s consideration and approval of the Working Families Ordinance is Tuesday, October 5, 2021.

To gauge how the proposed ordinance would impact business, county staff is seeking input before August 31, 2021, from parties that lease and conduct business on County-owned property. Contractor participation would assist in determining the estimated impact of implementing the Working Families Ordinance in the County staff response to the Board.

 
Attached is a copy of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors Board Letter and draft ordinance that the Board is considering. Before the Board meeting on October 5, 2021, there are multiple ways that you can provide input regarding the proposed ordinance and how the ordinance might impact your business.
 
Virtual Roundtable

In advance of the October 5, 2021 meeting, the County has scheduled a virtual “Contractor Roundtable Discussion” on Friday, August 27, 2021, from 2 pm to 3 pm. WECA members are encouraged to attend this virtual roundtable, and the Zoom link is provided below. During this meeting, the County staff seek verbal comments from contractors regarding how the proposed ordinance might impact your business.
 
Please use this Zoom link or phone number to access the virtual meeting:
 
Join Zoom Meeting:
https://us06web.zoom.us/j/82167129827?pwd=ZmhwSVdpVWNDTDgyZEJ6QTB5NDlXQT09
Meeting ID: 821 6712 9827
Passcode: 503910
 
Phone:
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
Meeting ID: 821 6712 9827
Passcode: 503910

In September, we will be following up with additional steps contractors can take to engage the Board on this proposal.

WECA is currently hiring for both full-time and part-time instructor positions in California. Join the WECA Team and help build the next generation of the electrical industry by sharing your electrical expertise and passion. View our open job listings here!
Read more >>


Thursday, August 26, 2021   COVID-19 Resources for WECA Member Contractors

Construction Industry COVID-19 Safety Plan (updated 12-21-20)
CA DIR Div. of Occupational Safety & Health: COVID-19 Infection Prevention in Construction
* CA Dept. of Public Health COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Construction
*  COVID-19 Employer Playbook for a Safe Reopening
COVID Situation Flow Diagram Company Template
COVID-19 Infection Prevention in Construction
WECA Special Update Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors
 * Cal/OSHA Guidance on Requirements to Protect Workers from Coronavirus
Supplemental Toolbox Talks COVID-19
Coronavirus Toolbox Talk
COVID-19 in Construction Workplace
COVID-19 Safety Meeting Outlines
COVID-19 Toolbox Talks for Subs
Fact Sheet for Pandemics
Marek Brother Toolbox Talk
COVID-19 Action Plan
Pandemic Preparedness - Coronavirus
Coronavirus - Workplace, School and Home Guidance
COVID-19 Tool Cleaning Protocols
COVID-19 Print Resources
COVID-19 Fact Sheet
United States Department of Labor: COVID-19
CDC COVID-19 Risk Assessment Flowchart
CALPASC HR 6201 Guidance
EDD Coronavirus Resources for WECA Community
Contractors State License Board Encourages Licensees to Donate PPE During COVID-19 Emergency
*  WECA Special Update Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors
* COVID-19 Federal Paid Leaves Explained
 * Get Your Editable Essential Work Permission Slips for Yourself and Your Employees Here
Show the Industry How WECA Contractors Lead in Best Practices for Jobsite Safety During COVID-19
WECA Special Update 4-1-20: New Carpooling and Facemask Recommendations; Sonoma County Joins In On New Bay Area Restrictions; New Requirements in Los Angeles for Comprehensive COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan; Two New Guides to CARES Act from the U.S. Chamber 
Coronavirus: Read the Yuba County and Sutter County Stay-at-Home Orders, issued April 7, 2020
*  OSHA's "Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19" and Other Resources; Includes Spanish Versions to Help You Reach All Employees

These, and more, plus class scheduling updates for your apprentices and students, are always available on WECA's COVID-19 Advisory Page.
Read more >>


Thursday, August 19, 2021   WECA Political Update August 19, 2021

Santa Barbara County Moves to Adopt County-Wide PLA. On a 3-2 vote, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted to negotiate a County-Wide PLA with the Tri-Counties Building Trades (Hartman, Hart, Williams – AYE). They will use the recently adopted City PLA as a basis (a $5 million threshold and separate core-workforce provisions for local contractors. For reasons known only to himself and his puppet masters, Supervisor Williams suggested the county should have a lower threshold, being “much larger” than the city. Board Chair Hartman explained the PLA was necessary for a “gig economy” but could not articulate how the gig economy was intersecting with public works construction in Santa Barbara (or anywhere). WECA member Blum Electric joined with a dynamic group of local contractors who opposed the effort. The Santa Barbara Independent noted, “Das Williams exemplifies the broken campaign finance system we have. Williams accepted over $30,000 in donations from cannabis growers while he was responsible for writing the regulations for cannabis cultivation. When the cannabis industry generated $6.7 million last year, $1.3 million more in tax revenue than the county supervisors had initially budgeted, Das Williams felt entitled to spend the surplus immediately.” They also observed supervisor Das Williams…was cited by the Grand Jury as the origin of our county’s cannabis troubles.” What he did to Santa Barbara residents with cannabis, he is now doing with county construction!

The San Joaquin Valley Sun reports that Assemblyman Rudy Salas will challenge Congressman David Valadao in 2022. “Following months of rumors, it appears Asm. Rudy Salas will plunge to oust Rep. David Valadao (R–Hanford) next year, Kern and Kings County Democratic sources confirmed to The Sun. The five-term Democratic legislator who succeeded Valadao in the Assembly has spent much of the year working to line up support among key backers. But it's not exactly going to be an easy ride. Why? Salas is already staring down a tug-of-war for party support with another Kern County moderate Democrat legislator: former Asm. Nicole Parra (D–Bakersfield). And he might have more competition, with the prospect of Valadao's predecessor – former Rep. TJ Cox (D–Fresno) – returning for a third-straight bid to win the south Valley seat. Story

Recall Ballots have been mailed, and voters may want to watch the Inside California Politics gubernatorial debate at 7 p.m. tonight, featuring former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, and businessman John Cox. (Talk show host Larry Elder and reality star Caitlyn Jenner say they’re not participating in any debates.) The hourlong forum will air on KRON4 in San Francisco, KTLA in Los Angeles, KSWB FOX5 in San Diego, KTXL FOX 40 in Sacramento, KSEE in Fresno, and KGET in Bakersfield. It will also stream online on each station’s website.

In related recall news, an initial hearing in a federal lawsuit challenging the legality of the upcoming recall has been scheduled for the end of the month. The suit, which seeks to either stop the September 14 recall from going forward or add Gov. Gavin Newsom's name to the list of replacement candidates, will have its first hearing in the Central District of California on August 30, according to a filing Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Michael Fitzgerald. Plaintiffs filed the suit last week, days after prominent legal experts raised the possibility of challenging the recall on the same constitutional grounds. Attorney General Rob Bonta's office will represent Secretary of State Shirley Weber; the suit named the defendant. Bonta's response is due August 24, and the plaintiffs' reply is due August 26.

And finally, PPIC is holding a virtual discussion on the recall on Thursday, September 2, 2021, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. PT. “Californians are already casting mail-in ballots in a special election on the recall and replacement of Governor Gavin Newsom. How did we get here, and what is at stake for California? A panel of top political journalists will talk about the recall process and explore the implications of the election and its outcome.” Register here.

Valley Political Dynasty? Politico reports, “With State Senate Majority Leader Bob Hertzberg termed out, son Daniel— a progressive activist and businessman —today launches his plans to run for his father’s 18th Senate District seat. The younger Hertzberg already has the backing of two powerhouse SoCal endorsers in his bid for the San Fernando Valley seat: Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.) and former Assembly Speaker John Pérez. The younger Hertzberg, in an email to supporters, said, “Public service has been deeply ingrained in my DNA since I was a kid ... I know I’ve got big shoes to fill, but I know that together, we can continue the Hertzberg tradition of fighting for the Valley’s fair share—and we can also fight for change in Sacramento.” Yikes!

New Vaccine Requirements for Federal Contractors The Biden administration recently announced that “every federal government employee and onsite contractor will be asked to attest to their vaccination status” and that anyone who “does not attest to being fully vaccinated will be required to wear a mask on the job no matter their geographic location, physically distance from all other employees and visitors, comply with a weekly or twice-weekly screening testing requirement, and be subject to restrictions on official travel.” To help carry out this new policy, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force recently published Agency Model Safety Principles for executive departments and agencies for their COVID-19 safety plans. Story

NLRB’s New General Counsel Outlines Ambitious Pro-Union Agenda the NLRB is set to have a pro-union majority beginning on August 28, 2021. After that date, employers should expect the NLRB to start aiming a panoply of employer-friendly rulings and standards. On August 12, newly appointed General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo took the first step in advancing that pro-union shift by outlining her ambitious agenda in a 10-page memo to NLRB staff across the country. As the NLRB’s top prosecutor with the ability to control which cases and issues are investigated and pursued, Abruzzo wields significant power. Story

California Energy Commission mandates solar for new buildings from 2023 The California Energy Commission’s five-member panel voted unanimously recently to require solar panels and battery storage in new commercial buildings and specific multifamily residences beginning January 1, 2023. Existing law requires California to reach 40 percent below 1990 greenhouse gas levels by 2030. Still, the state has a series of less-binding targets: Former Gov. Jerry Brown signed an executive order in 2018 to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045, and Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an order last year to make all new passenger vehicle sales zero-emission by 2035. Newsom also sent a letter to CARB last month directing it to include a 2030 carbon neutrality goal in its scoping plan. Story

Study Finds High Levels of Perceived Discrimination In The Building Industry New research has quantified the level of discrimination that people of color and women workers experience in the commercial and residential building industries. Seventy-two percent of Black or African-American respondents and 66 percent of women respondents to a National Institute of Building Sciences survey said they had experienced discrimination or prejudice while at work. People from other non-White groups also indicated encountering similar attitudes. Story

BLS: 87.3% of U.S. Construction Industry Does Not Belong to A Union According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual union members summary report published January 22, 2021, union membership in the construction industry declined in 2020. Story

Fresno Lawmakers Post Surprising Fundraising Figures As 2022 Looms Even with the recall around the corner, it appears that more than 18 months out isn't too early to start raising money for the next election. That seems to be the case for a sizable chunk of Fresno's City Council, who reported their fundraising totals for the first half of 2021. They were overshadowed, however, by the marquee battle to replace Esmeralda Soria. She terms out of her post in 2022. The race is between PR whiz Cary Catalano and State Center Community College Trustee Annalisa Perea. Story

Why Are Key California Affordable Housing Bills Bottled Up? CalMatters notes: “Encouraging housing to be built in place of abandoned big box stores and strip malls and making it easier to build student housing near community colleges; establishing authority in Los Angeles to finance affordable housing. These proposals all promise to ease California’s ever-worsening housing crisis by adding or preserving the already-scarce supply. But these bills also appear to be dead in the water. As often happens in the Legislature, it’s impossible to say for certain, and key players remain tight-lipped. But several observers of the housing debate noted a significant similarity among the bills: they all require that a portion of the workforce that builds the housing be graduates of mostly union-run apprenticeship programs.” Story

Maine Governor Vetoes PAGA Bill California’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) has done far more harm than good since its inception. Maine’s Governor, Janet Mills, clearly recognized this when she vetoed L.D. 17111 earlier this month. L.D. 1711 would have enacted a law nearly identical in practice to California’s own PAGA statute and made Maine the only other state in the nation to have such a law on the books. Story
Read more >>


Thursday, August 12, 2021   WECA Industry Partner simPRO: case study featuring WECA Member Contractor Southwest Industrial Ele.

Find out how they helped Southwest Industrial Electric trade double work for double-digit growth!

simPRO Case Study: Southwest Industrial Electric

WECA Industry Partner simPRO Software specializes in providing software that streamlines end-to-end operations management systems for contractors.

Find out how they helped WECA Member Contractor Southwest Industrial Electric trade double work for double-digit growth!
 
Read more >>


Thursday, August 12, 2021   Check out these shots from our Rancho Cordova HQ as the GetWired! program returns to in-person labs



We're excited to welcome our students back to in-person GetWired! labs! The COVID pandemic took our GetWired program labs into the online interactive realm for a while, but we're excited to announce the return of in-person labs.

These pictures show last Saturday's session of a GetWired! 104 lab at WECA's Rancho Cordova headquarters and training facility, as Electrician Trainees undertook lab exercises in which they learned how to effectively bend conduit.
Read more >>


Thursday, August 12, 2021   WECA is experiencing an influx of new enrollments!

Prioritize your Electrician Trainees' enrollments NOW to ensure their placement in Session 4 GetWired! classes!

Due to an influx of new members and their trainees, WECA's GetWired! Program is experiencing record levels of enrollment. If your electrician trainees plan to enroll in Session 4 (October-December) GetWired! courses with WECA, and have not yet enrolled, they should do so now to secure their seats.

Make sure your Electrician Trainees don't miss out on making progress in WECA's GetWired program this Fall. Encourage them to enroll in desired courses--ASAP.

WECA is continually working to expand capacity in our courses to meet demand, but time is of the essence for Session 4 enrollments. Your trainees can self-enroll through our catalog of available courses here.

Review the Path to a WECA Electrician Trainee Program Certificate to help your trainee select their next class.

And remember--if you sponsor your trainees, you can take advantage of substantial member discounts in doing so. Call us at 1-877-444-9322 to get started with sponsoring your trainees, if you haven't already.
Read more >>


Thursday, August 12, 2021   It's almost here! Don't miss out on our informative webinar on prevailing wage bidding; compliance

It's almost here! Don't miss out on this informative Webinar: Essential Knowledge for Bidding and Compliance on Prevailing Wage Jobs

August 18 | 10 a.m. PDT | Zoom

Free for WECA Members and their employees.

All others $70/registration.



Join WECA and the Contractors' Plan for the Webinar: "Essential Knowledge for Bidding & Compliance on Prevailing Wage Jobs" on August 18 at 10 a.m. PDT on Zoom.

This Webinar discusses how to navigate prevailing wage while ensuring compliance with numerous rules and regulations, and profitability.

Competition for prevailing wage jobs is fierce, and some of the greatest challenges for open shop government contractors is ensuring compliance with numerous rules and regulations while ensuring profitability. Whether competing on projects subject to the Davis-Bacon Act or local prevailing wage ordinances, it’s critical for contractors to be well informed and educated to ensure adherence to the complex and rigorous rules.

Learn from industry expert Nathaniel Peniston as he shares best practices for:

• ESSER and coronavirus funding
• Where to find prevailing wage rates & how to understand them
• Understanding how base wage and fringe obligations are best met
• Fringe Benefits & Annualization
• Best practices in demonstrating compliance

If you’re a contractor performing prevailing wage work, you don’t want to miss this webinar.

SPEAKER INFO

Nathaniel Peniston, Vice President, The Contractors Plan

Nathaniel Peniston works with external partners such as WECA to identify areas of collaboration and drive customer success. An expert in the administration and compliance challenges of hourly employees with prevailing wage and fringe benefit obligations, Peniston has published a number of articles, including “Why ‘Prevailing Wages’ Exist & How to Take Advantage of Them,” and a book, “The Contractor’s Guide to the Davis-Bacon Act: Essential Knowledge for Bidding and Compliance on Prevailing Wage Jobs.”

If you're a WECA member, take advantage of free registration and reserve your spot now. All others $70/registration.

Time's running out, so register for the Webinar today to make sure you get a spot!
Read more >>


Thursday, August 12, 2021   Have you ever had issues with transporting construction materials to and from your jobsites?

Learn how WECA Industry Partner Curri can help you!



One of WECA's newest Industry Partners, Curri, is the self-proclaimed "Uber for construction materials". The delivery platform and driver app handles the delivery of construction materials from any and all suppliers to jobsites, between branches, or wherever you need them. Learn about using outsourced vs. in-house delivery drivers here.
Read more >>


Thursday, August 12, 2021   Have a passion for teaching? Full and part-time Electrical and Low Voltage Positions open across CA



WECA is currently hiring for both full-time and part-time instructor positions in California. Join the WECA Team and help build the next generation of the electrical industry by sharing your electrical expertise and passion. View our open job listings here!
Read more >>


Thursday, August 12, 2021   COVID-19 Resources for WECA Member Contractors

Construction Industry COVID-19 Safety Plan (updated 12-21-20)
CA DIR Div. of Occupational Safety & Health: COVID-19 Infection Prevention in Construction
* CA Dept. of Public Health COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Construction
*  COVID-19 Employer Playbook for a Safe Reopening
COVID Situation Flow Diagram Company Template
COVID-19 Infection Prevention in Construction
WECA Special Update Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors
 * Cal/OSHA Guidance on Requirements to Protect Workers from Coronavirus
Supplemental Toolbox Talks COVID-19
Coronavirus Toolbox Talk
COVID-19 in Construction Workplace
COVID-19 Safety Meeting Outlines
COVID-19 Toolbox Talks for Subs
Fact Sheet for Pandemics
Marek Brother Toolbox Talk
COVID-19 Action Plan
Pandemic Preparedness - Coronavirus
Coronavirus - Workplace, School and Home Guidance
COVID-19 Tool Cleaning Protocols
COVID-19 Print Resources
COVID-19 Fact Sheet
United States Department of Labor: COVID-19
CDC COVID-19 Risk Assessment Flowchart
CALPASC HR 6201 Guidance
EDD Coronavirus Resources for WECA Community
Contractors State License Board Encourages Licensees to Donate PPE During COVID-19 Emergency
*  WECA Special Update Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors
* COVID-19 Federal Paid Leaves Explained
 * Get Your Editable Essential Work Permission Slips for Yourself and Your Employees Here
Show the Industry How WECA Contractors Lead in Best Practices for Jobsite Safety During COVID-19
WECA Special Update 4-1-20: New Carpooling and Facemask Recommendations; Sonoma County Joins In On New Bay Area Restrictions; New Requirements in Los Angeles for Comprehensive COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan; Two New Guides to CARES Act from the U.S. Chamber 
Coronavirus: Read the Yuba County and Sutter County Stay-at-Home Orders, issued April 7, 2020
*  OSHA's "Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19" and Other Resources; Includes Spanish Versions to Help You Reach All Employees

These, and more, plus class scheduling updates for your apprentices and students, are always available on WECA's COVID-19 Advisory Page.
Read more >>


Thursday, July 29, 2021   Remembering Steve Kappes, WECA Low Voltage Apprenticeship Instructor



It is with great sadness that WECA shares the news of the passing of Low Voltage Apprenticeship instructor Steve Kappes.

A native of Sacramento, Steve became a WECA Low Voltage Apprenticeship (Voice Data Video/Fire Life Safety) instructor with WECA in 2016 after serving in the United States Navy for 14 years and subsequently working for various fire alarm and CCTV companies in the Bay Area.

Steve studied at American River College in Sacramento before joining the Navy, where he specialized in the maintenance of submarine communications equipment. During his time in the Navy, Steve also took advantage of fire alarm systems training, which provided him with a wealth of technical knowledge to take into his next career.

Prior to landing at WECA, Steve served as a service manager for SimplexGrinnell in San Jose and worked on various low voltage systems for the Napa Unified School District. 



Steve also held a C-10 Electrical Contractors license and was certified as a California Fire/Life Safety Technician; a NICET Level III, Senior Electronics Technician, and was factory-certified for multiple manufacturer’s fire alarm, security, telephone, and CCTV systems over the course of his accomplished career.



WECA Apprenticeship Training and Facilities Director Don Black says “Steve’s humor, kind heart, and passion for learning will be greatly missed.  Steve and our Fire Life Safety/VDV programs go hand in hand as he played a critical role in making the great programs they are today.”
  
Steve was pre-deceased by his wife, Lisa, and is survived by his two sons, Jason (and his wife Jenn) and Chris, and his daughter, Abbie; and two grandchildren.
Read more >>


Thursday, July 29, 2021   Don't miss out on Webinar: Essential Knowledge for Bidding and Compliance on Prevailing Wage Jobs

August 18 | 10 a.m. PDT | Zoom
?
Free for WECA Members and their employees.
All others $70/registration.



Join WECA and the Contractors' Plan for the Webinar: "Essential Knowledge for Bidding & Compliance on Prevailing Wage Jobs" on August 18 at 10 a.m. PDT on Zoom.

This Webinar discusses how to navigate prevailing wage while ensuring compliance with numerous rules and regulations, and profitability.

Competition for prevailing wage jobs is fierce, and some of the greatest challenges for open shop government contractors is ensuring compliance with numerous rules and regulations while ensuring profitability. Whether competing on projects subject to the Davis-Bacon Act or local prevailing wage ordinances, it’s critical for contractors to be well informed and educated to ensure adherence to the complex and rigorous rules.

Learn from industry expert Nathaniel Peniston as he shares best practices for:

• ESSER and coronavirus funding
• Where to find prevailing wage rates & how to understand them
• Understanding how base wage and fringe obligations are best met
• Fringe Benefits & Annualization
• Best practices in demonstrating compliance

If you’re a contractor performing prevailing wage work, you don’t want to miss this webinar.

SPEAKER INFO

Nathaniel Peniston, Vice President, The Contractors Plan

Nathaniel Peniston works with external partners such as WECA to identify areas of collaboration and drive customer success. An expert in the administration and compliance challenges of hourly employees with prevailing wage and fringe benefit obligations, Peniston has published a number of articles, including “Why ‘Prevailing Wages’ Exist & How to Take Advantage of Them,” and a book, “The Contractor’s Guide to the Davis-Bacon Act: Essential Knowledge for Bidding and Compliance on Prevailing Wage Jobs.”

If you're a WECA member, take advantage of free registration and reserve your spot now. All others $70/registration.

Register for the Webinar today!
Read more >>


Thursday, July 29, 2021   Automate and schedule your employees' required training at your fingertips with ThinkHR



WECA Member Contractors: would it be helpful to schedule and automate your employees' required training?

With ThinkHR, WECA Members get access to human resources forms, documents, tools, trainings, and more--all online at your fingertips. 

Here's a tip:

With ThinkHR--complimentary access to which is a WECA member benefit--you can maintain training compliance through their online platform. You enter in employee information and choose which courses they need to take. ThinkHR sends an email to the employee with the link to log in and their credentials and course(s) they are required to take, as well as when they are due. Once course(s) have been completed you can print a certification of completion for their employee file.

Not yet enrolled in ThinkHR? It's easy to do--just login to your WECA member dashboard and click "Register for HR Comply from ThinkHR."
Read more >>


Thursday, July 29, 2021   Seeking Qualified Electrician Instructors for Online Weeknight and Saturday Classes

It's the Perfect Side Gig That Doesn't Interfere with Your Primary Job!

We're Experiencing Record Enrollment in Our GetWired! Program and Our Need for Additional Part-Time Instructors Just Keeps Growing





If you're a certified electrician or C-10 contractor (or a retired one, on either front), we've got a great opportunity for you: become a part-time, online WECA instructor on weeknights and Saturdays! It's the perfect side gig to complement your day job (or keep your skills sharp in your retirement), and you can bring in some extra cash sharing your expertise with the next generation of electricians in California.

Teach for WECA's GetWired! electrician training program from the comfort of home (with the option to also teach in-person Saturday labs).

Review the job listing and apply here.

Not yet qualified, but interested in completing your education and becoming a certified electrician in California--and maybe teaching for us some day in the future? Find out why the GetWired! Program, culminating in WECA's Electrician Trainee Program Certificate, is training thousands of students across California, with more enrolling every day.
Read more >>


Thursday, July 29, 2021   COVID-19 Resources for WECA Member Contractors

Construction Industry COVID-19 Safety Plan (updated 12-21-20)
CA DIR Div. of Occupational Safety & Health: COVID-19 Infection Prevention in Construction
* CA Dept. of Public Health COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Construction
*  COVID-19 Employer Playbook for a Safe Reopening
COVID Situation Flow Diagram Company Template
COVID-19 Infection Prevention in Construction
WECA Special Update Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors
 * Cal/OSHA Guidance on Requirements to Protect Workers from Coronavirus
Supplemental Toolbox Talks COVID-19
Coronavirus Toolbox Talk
COVID-19 in Construction Workplace
COVID-19 Safety Meeting Outlines
COVID-19 Toolbox Talks for Subs
Fact Sheet for Pandemics
Marek Brother Toolbox Talk
COVID-19 Action Plan
Pandemic Preparedness - Coronavirus
Coronavirus - Workplace, School and Home Guidance
COVID-19 Tool Cleaning Protocols
COVID-19 Print Resources
COVID-19 Fact Sheet
United States Department of Labor: COVID-19
CDC COVID-19 Risk Assessment Flowchart
CALPASC HR 6201 Guidance
EDD Coronavirus Resources for WECA Community
Contractors State License Board Encourages Licensees to Donate PPE During COVID-19 Emergency
*  WECA Special Update Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors
* COVID-19 Federal Paid Leaves Explained
 * Get Your Editable Essential Work Permission Slips for Yourself and Your Employees Here
Show the Industry How WECA Contractors Lead in Best Practices for Jobsite Safety During COVID-19
WECA Special Update 4-1-20: New Carpooling and Facemask Recommendations; Sonoma County Joins In On New Bay Area Restrictions; New Requirements in Los Angeles for Comprehensive COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan; Two New Guides to CARES Act from the U.S. Chamber 
Coronavirus: Read the Yuba County and Sutter County Stay-at-Home Orders, issued April 7, 2020
*  OSHA's "Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19" and Other Resources; Includes Spanish Versions to Help You Reach All Employees

These, and more, plus class scheduling updates for your apprentices and students, are always available on WECA's COVID-19 Advisory Page.
Read more >>


Tuesday, July 27, 2021   Remembering Steve Kappes, Low Voltage Apprenticeship Instructor



It is with great sadness that WECA shares the news of the passing of Low Voltage Apprenticeship instructor Steve Kappes.

A native of Sacramento, Steve became a WECA Low Voltage Apprenticeship (Voice Data Video/Fire Life Safety) instructor with WECA in 2016 after serving in the United States Navy for 14 years and subsequently working for various fire alarm and CCTV companies in the Bay Area.

Steve studied at American River College in Sacramento before joining the Navy, where he specialized in the maintenance of submarine communications equipment. During his time in the Navy, Steve also took advantage of fire alarm systems training, which provided him with a wealth of technical knowledge to take into his next career.

Prior to landing at WECA, Steve served as a service manager for SimplexGrinnell in San Jose and worked on various low voltage systems for the Napa Unified School District. 



Steve also held a C-10 Electrical Contractors license and was certified as a California Fire/Life Safety Technician; a NICET Level III, Senior Electronics Technician, and was factory-certified for multiple manufacturer’s fire alarm, security, telephone, and CCTV systems over the course of his accomplished career.



WECA Apprenticeship Training and Facilities Director Don Black says “Steve’s humor, kind heart, and passion for learning will be greatly missed.  Steve and our Fire Life Safety/VDV programs go hand in hand as he played a critical role in making the great programs they are today.”
  
Steve was pre-deceased by his wife, Lisa, and is survived by his two sons, Jason (and his wife Jenn) and Chris, and his daughter, Abbie; and two grandchildren.
Read more >>


Tuesday, July 27, 2021   Looking for the next course to take in the GetWired! intermediate electrical series?

Check out GetWired! 203: Raceway Systems, Switchboards and Panelboards, DC Motors, Three-Phase Alternators and Motors! Next session Aug. 2 to Sept. 15, plus the late fee is waived!

Also great for Journeyperson Continuing Education!
?

Recommended Prerequisite for Electrician Trainees: GET WIRED! 100 Series, 201 & 202

GET WIRED! 203 expands on skills built in the 202 course. Topics covered include:
  • Wiring materials
  • Raceway systems and cable assemblies
  • Switchboards and panelboards
  • DC motors
  • Sizing branch circuits – Part 2 – hands-on-lab
  • Three-phase alternators and motors
  • Equipment for general use


GET WIRED! 203 includes an independent study project that you must complete to earn course credit. The project is designed to help you develop on-the-job skills you need to be an expert electrician.
  • Total class hours available: 39
  • Standard Tuition Fee: $379
  • Late Tuition Fee: Waived!


Want to get a spot in this course? Act fast--it starts August 8th!
Read more >>


Tuesday, July 27, 2021   Open enrollment is coming up--prepare with this information!

And be sure to keep an eye on your inboxes for further info!



Open Enrollment Period: August 16 - 27, 2021

Insurer: United Health Care (UHC)
 
Coverage effective date: October 1, 2021
 
Coverage effective date: October 1, 2021

Dear WECA California Commercial Electrical Apprentices: 

WECA views health insurance as an important benefit to our Apprentices. Each year we carefully review multiple plan options, taking into consideration benefits, service, and cost, to ensure that our Apprentices have comprehensive and affordable insurance plans. This year we have elected to partner with UNITED HEALTH CARE for Medical/Vision, Dental, Life/ADD and Disability insurance.

During Open Enrollment, you are required to complete a new UHC enrollment form for yourself and any dependents that are covered on your plan now, or if you plan on enrolling a dependent who is currently not covered by the plans. 

Further information with instructions will be forthcoming in August. 

If you have any questions, please call Cindy Cormier, Insurance Administrator at (916) 453-0112 ext. 117 or toll free (877)444-9322 ext. 117 or you can email ccormier@goweca.com.
Read more >>


Tuesday, July 27, 2021   Heads up, graduates: don't forget to RSVP for WECA's Northern or Southern California graduations!



Dear WECA Graduating Class of 2021,

WECA is excited to invite you and your family to come and celebrate your achievement of successfully completing your program--in person! Our Northern California graduation event will be held outdoors this year to accommodate as many guests as possible.

The WECA Class of 2020, for whom we were not able to hold a traditional graduation ceremony last year due to the pandemic, will also be honored at this event.

Graduates of WECA's Commercial Electrical, Residential Electrical, and Low Voltage Apprenticeship Programs, as well as Electrician Trainee Program graduates, will be honored at this event. Meet with your classmates, instructors, contractors, and WECA staff in honor of your graduation, and celebrate together after a trying year.

Be sure to check your email for ticketing details!

On behalf of WECA's instructors, Board of Directors, and all the WECA staff, we wish you a heartfelt congratulations!

Congratulations,

The WECA Team

 
Read more >>


Tuesday, July 27, 2021   Seeking Qualified Electrician Instructors for Online Weeknight and Saturday Classes

It's the Perfect Side Gig That Doesn't Interfere with Your Primary Job!

We're Experiencing Record Enrollment in Our GetWired! Program and Our Need for Additional Part-Time Instructors Just Keeps Growing





If you're a certified electrician or C-10 contractor (or a retired one, on either front), we've got a great opportunity for you: become a part-time, online WECA instructor on weeknights and Saturdays! It's the perfect side gig to complement your day job (or keep your skills sharp in your retirement), and you can bring in some extra cash sharing your expertise with the next generation of electricians in California.

Teach for WECA's GetWired! electrician training program from the comfort of home (with the option to also teach in-person Saturday labs).

Review the job listing and apply here.

Not yet qualified, but interested in completing your education and becoming a certified electrician in California--and maybe teaching for us some day in the future? Find out why the GetWired! Program, culminating in WECA's Electrician Trainee Program Certificate, is training thousands of students across California, with more enrolling every day.
Read more >>


Tuesday, July 27, 2021   WECA GetWired! labs scheduling and venue update

Dear WECA Electrician Trainees, Journeyman Continuing Education and General Students, and their Contractors,

Please review the information below for updates to upcoming onsite lab scheduling for our GetWired! program. Information in red reflects recent updates.

For those students enrolled in a GetWired class with a lab date from July 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021:
  • Your lab will initially be scheduled to be conducted entirely online. 
  • WECA will send you confirmation of your login instructions for your online lab.
  • However, WECA is closely monitoring developments and California state restrictions as the COVID situation progresses. If the situation improves such that we are able to serve some or all of these labs in our traditional hands-on format during Session 3 (July-September 2021), we will transition those lab events back to in-person experiences at our training facilities.
  • If the lab in which you are enrolled in Session 3 becomes possible to deliver in-person, you will be given at least four weeks of notice of your change in lab venue to a WECA training facility.
  • Your lab date will remain identical. Your lab time may shift from afternoon to morning, or vice versa. Please watch your email for further details.
  • Update: Saturday labs scheduled to start August 7th – September 18th have been transitioned from online to in-person labs for GetWired 102, 103, 104, 201, 202, 203, 204, and 302.
  • Emails with this update were sent last week to enrolled students. If you are enrolled in one of the GetWired classes shown above with a Saturday lab date between August 7th – September 18th, please make sure you review your recent communications from WECA for your specific lab details and attend your onsite class day. Labs will be delivered onsite only for these classes.
  • To view your onsite lab day details, you may also log into https://www.goweca.com/login.aspx and look for “Upcoming Classes and Required Items.”
  • GetWired 101 and 301 labs remain online.
For those students enrolled in a GetWired class with a lab date after October 1, 2021:
  • If your class includes a hands-on lab, it will automatically be scheduled as an onsite, in-person learning experience.
Any questions? Please don't hesitate to call us! 1-877-444-9322. We can't wait to see you back in the labs!
 
Read more >>


Tuesday, July 27, 2021   Electrician Trainee and Journeyman Continuing Education Student Advisory

Session 4 Courses for Fall 2021 now available for enrollment in our online web catalog!



Attention Journeymen and Electrician Trainees, and the Contractors facilitating their employees' educations: Our Fall 2021 (Oct. 1 - Dec. 31) course catalog is available on our website.

View the Electrician Trainee course catalog here.

Jump to the Journeyman continuing education course catalog here. 

Fall courses are open for online enrollment, and of course you can also enroll over the phone at (877) 444-9322 , in person at any of our training facilities, or by email at info@goweca.com.

Courses fill fast, so don't wait to secure your seat.

If you have any questions regarding a particular course, please call (877) 444-9322 or email us at info@goweca.com.
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Thursday, July 22, 2021   WECA Political Update July 22, 2021

Landscape Professionals Volunteer to Improve Arlington National Cemetery and National Mall Since I usually focus on the darker side of life and politics, I thought I would start with this story of service. “Hundreds of landscape volunteers will lend their time and expertise on a project that honors America on two of its most iconic and patriotic open green spaces. ‘We must cultivate our garden,’ Voltaire famously advised. That happened on a large scale July 19 when hundreds of landscape industry professionals convened at Arlington National Cemetery and the National Mall, volunteering during one of their busiest times of the year, to protect the historic cherry trees, enhance the turf, and improve irrigation systems. Story

California Businesses Hiring Homeless Workers Can Get A $30,000 Tax Credit California businesses hiring homeless workers can get up to $30,000 a year in tax credit starting 2022 under a budget bill signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday. Companies must pay at least 120% of the state’s minimum wage to be eligible Story

A Union Pot Calls a Union Kettle Black Dan Walters writes, “A squabble between two blocs of politically influential California unions is an example of the pot calling the kettle black.” Story

Phoenix Improves in Latest Rankings The Phoenix metro jumped 13 spots in the prestigious 2021-2022 U.S. News Best Places to Live rankings. The latest report cited the Valley’s job market, its relatively low cost of living, its “ample opportunities to play,” as well as, of course, its abundant sunshine. Story

Recall Gov. Gavin Newsom will not list his party affiliation on the recall ballot, a Sacramento County judge ruled recently. The blank space on the ballot is thanks to a filing error by Newsom’s lawyer (ex-lawyer?) who admitted that he forgot to check the party designation box — failing to take advantage of a law signed by his Governor just a few months earlier, that would have allowed him to do so. The case arose because Secretary of State Dr. Shirley Weber refused to let the Newsom campaign amend its report. Hoping to mend fences with Newsom— who appointed Weber to fill the vacancy at Secretary of State when Newsom appointed Alex Padilla to fill the vacant U.S. Senate seat—Weber subsequently refused to put conservative talk-show host Larry Elder on the “replacement” ballot. Elder sued, and a Sacramento Judge concluded that the Secretary of State errored in applying a 2019 bill that requires candidates for Governor to supply five years of tax returns to be placed on the ballot. Over 40 candidates will be on the ballot when California voters decide Newsom’s fate on Sept. 14 and via mail ballots in the preceding month. Among the top Republican contenders are former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, businessman and Newsom’s 2018 opponent John Cox, former Rep. Doug Ose, former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner, and Assemblymember Kevin Kiley.

Legislature Adopts Broadband Funding But forgets about Skilled and Trained Workforce (SWF). As part of their spending free-for-all, the Legislature sent Governor Newsom SB 156 that … but unlike an earlier version (AB 34) that would have issued general obligation bonds for up to $10 billion, SB 156 did not include any of the State Building and Construction Trades Council’s usual SWF mandates—or the waiver of SWF if a PLA covers the project! Also—SB 156 authorizes job order contracting for broadband construction…

Arizona Ends Federal Pandemic Unemployment Insurance Program Arizona ended its participation in pandemic-related federal unemployment benefit programs on July 10, and courts in two states—Indiana and Maryland—ruled those states must continue to participate in the program. Gov. Doug Ducey (R) had announced that Arizona would end its involvement in the program on May 13.

ABC Calls for Changes to Biden PLA Rule ABC called for changes to the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s interim final rule encouraging project labor agreements and other anti-competitive and costly labor policies on particular state and local projects funded by the American Recovery Plan Act of 2021. I am sure Secretary Yellen will seriously consider their position. Story

In related news—ABC Announces New Campaign to Fight PLA Legislation Associated Builders and Contractors has amassed a six-figure war chest to fight the use of mandated project labor agreements on federally funded infrastructure jobs. Through Build America Local, a coalition of construction industry and business organizations led by ABC, the trade group has produced a 30-second commercial as part of an advocacy campaign aimed at the public and members of the U.S. Senate on PLAs. Story

Newsom Appoints Labor Secretary Governor Newsom announced Natalie Palugyai as Secretary of California’s Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA). Newsom also announced Stewart Knox as LWDA Undersecretary. In addition, former LWDA Secretary Julie Su was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Deputy Secretary of Labor at the U.S. Department of Labor. Palugyai’s appointment pleased former Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor Senator María Elena Durazo. “As Chair of the Latino Legislative Caucus, I look forward to working with her to solve issues of wage theft, expand health and safety provisions in the workplace, and create access to new good-paying jobs through High Road Partnerships.” Art Pulaski, Executive Secretary-Treasurer and Chief Officer of the California Labor Federation said, “I know she will fight for all of California’s workers and treat them with respect.” Since the early 2000s, Palugyai has served in many advisory and managerial roles in private and public sectors. A graduate of both the University of Miami and Harvard University, Palugyai started as a compliance officer for the U.S. Department of Labor in Miami from 2000 to 2003. Following a subsequent two-year stint working at the World Bank, she next served as a Recovery Analysis, Reports and Technology Solutions branch chief at FEMA from 2007 to 2010 and as a Senior Management Advisor at the Department of Labor until 2015. After a few advisory positions at the General Services Administration and John Hopkins University, Palugyai became the Senior Advisor for Strategic Initiatives at Johns Hopkins University in 2018, a position she has held ever since.

Not everyone agrees she is the right choice. In the California Globe, Oakland-based labor union advisor and analyst Dylan Murphy said, “She’s only 40, not exactly a long career to really look back upon for such a high-level position. But what is even more concerning is her unfamiliarity with California. She has only ever held positions in Florida, Washington, and Baltimore. There’s nothing West there of the Appalachians, let alone the Mississippi. Some of the jobs in Washington were for national-level things, but nothing that really focused on California. And labor in California is a different animal than all other states. Unions remain very strong out here in many sectors, with migrant workers also playing a huge part out here. And that’s not even getting into all the issues surrounding AB 5, the ongoing EDD fraud issues from last year, and lingering post-COVID labor and workplace issues unique to California. On top of that, the Governor is going to face an election in September, and if he wins that, again in November next year. He could be out as Governor either time, meaning Palugyai may only be in office a brief time. So it’s quite possible by the time she figures out what the labor situation is in California, she could be out of a job.” Story

The California Supreme Court Cooks up More Problems for Employers In yet another blow to employers, the California Supreme Court decided, in Ferra v. Loews Hollywood Hotel, LLC,1 that the one hour of premium pay owed to employees who do not receive a legally compliant meal or rest breaks must be paid at the employee’s “regular rate” (as used in the calculation of overtime), not simply the employee’s hourly rate. This decision impacts employers who pay nonexempt employees additional compensation, such as non-discretionary bonuses, shift premiums, or commissions. More

Secret California Budget Item Gives $280M Handout for Oakland Stadium Project As evidence that California Legislators had millions burning holes in their pockets, Politico reported that “A state budget bill Newsom signed late last month directs $279.5 million in general fund money to the Port of Oakland for a broad range of infrastructure projects. The port says it doesn't have a specific plan for the money, which the budget dedicates to ‘improvements that facilitate enhanced freight and passenger access and to promote the efficient and safe movement of goods and people.’ But the infusion of state dollars came just weeks before Tuesday's vote on developing the port's Howard Terminal into a baseball stadium and mixed-use development in one of the smallest markets in Major League Baseball, and as the Oakland A's hold out for more government funding.”
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