Before the 2020 school year started back up, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 520 held their yearly Summer Workers Program.
The program began as a way to help the children of members earn some extra summer cash, but it has turned into a new recruitment effort aimed at schools across the Local 520 jurisdiction.
Back in the days when it was still safe to visit high schools and career fairs, Marc Pendleton, Local 520 Organizers, and other Organizers would set up an area and discuss career opportunities that are possible as a licensed union electrician.
IBEW 520 provides adolescents with alternative career option
With the soaring cost of college and the fear of taking on tens of thousands of dollars in student debt, Local 520 used these career fair events as many students’ first introduction to the trade.
Students who wanted to learn more about a career as an electrician were given the opportunity to join the IBEW Local 520 Summer Work Program. This provided a great way for young people to test the waters and learn what it was like to work in the trade without making a huge commitment.
This year, the program had 30 participants, with a few showing great interest in becoming members.
Local 520 made sure these future tradesmen and tradeswomen were properly equipped to show up to work on their first day, as participants received a pair of work boots and all necessary personal protective equipment.
Summer Workers Program participants perform electrical tasks on jobsite
These young men and women, who were all at least 18 years old, were able to work on jobsites.
Depending on their skill level or knowledge level, participants would complete varied tasks. Typically participants performed daily duties such as opening gangboxes and locking them at the end of the day, gathering materials, pulling wire and more.
For those participants who were not yet 18 years old and not covered by the contractors insurance, they worked away from the jobsite at fabrication shops. These young adults performed tasks such as prefabricating boxes of parts to send to job sites, keeping the shop clean and loading trucks to be sent into the field.
With the ongoing building boom in central Texas, the Summer Worker Program is helping to identify another pipeline for Local 520 to recruit and man more jobs with highly trained and highly skilled workers.