Solar Doghouses

IBEW & NECA bring a creative side to training in the trades

An alliance of two prestigious associations, formed to try to lure trade workers into the solar panel installation field…and its bark is just as good as its bite.

Sponsored by billboard companies like Milwaukee Tool and 3M, IBEW and NECA are spearheading a program designed to inspire potential future workers in the trades, aiming for children in the middle school range. One of the first steps to that goal is aligning new skills (like the duties of a solar panel installer) with the agendas of trade schools and engineering programs. This is slowly occurring across the country through various methods.

The NECA/IBEW idea saw its trial period play out first in Arizona, at Madison Park Middle School in Phoenix last month. Sixth-through-eighth graders got to experience the basics of solar training, and honestly, there aren’t many better ways to engage children than with a bunch of dogs.

The initiative is part of the CACTUS program—which gets my vote for clever acronym of the month—Careers in Architecture, Construction, and Trades Uplifting Students.

“This event was a perfect example of being able to see your hard work pay off,” the organizations wrote in a news release summarizing the debut event June 25. “The students worked as a team to create the dog houses and are now seeing the fruits of their labor being shared with the community. A journeyman wireman works on hospitals, high-rises, water treatment plants, stadiums, wind and solar farms – you name it. Each and every day they are able to walk off the job seeing what they were able to accomplish that day.”

Notes: Electrical Construction & Maintenance Magazine (EC&M) first reported on the story June 25. IBEW: International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. NECA: National Electrical Contractors’ Association.

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