By Thayer Long, Executive Director, IEC National
IEC 2023 President Cecil Leedy closed each of his six 2023 messages in Insights by saying, “it’s not how you start; it’s how you finish,” a quote attributed to author Jim George.
How did you finish 2023? Strong? Steady? A bit short? Wherever you landed on your anticipated bottom line, what did you learn in 2023 that can help you to achieve more of your goals in 2024? How can you take that finish and make it the beginning of something new and better? How strong is your growth mindset?
That’s what we are doing here at IEC National. The statistics shared on these pages tell a story of tremendous growth — very strong numbers for building the pipeline through our IEC Apprenticeship Program, strengthening our community of members and partnerships with leading companies.
What the numbers don’t show — and maybe can’t show — is the amazing efforts of individuals who are committed to seeing that merit shop electrical contractors are positioned to do their jobs and do their jobs well.
That’s each of you — our valued contractor members leading the electrical contracting profession in today’s world while preparing for what the future holds. You demonstrate to your customers each and every day what it means to offer expertise and service. That’s our chapter leaders, who connect with you to build your businesses, train your workforce, instruct your apprentices, and keep safe. That’s also our IEC National team members who learn from you, assist chapter leaders, and add our association expertise to provide you with the tools you need to do your job at the highest level.
On to those 2023 accomplishments of which I am especially proud….
It was an extremely active year for IEC education — including revisions to apprenticeship curriculum and labs, development of new low voltage / limited energy modules, completion of a new project management course, and code updates to the Fire Alarm course with a new online offering rolling out in early 2024.
We put ourselves boldly in front of our nation’s policy makers and spoke our truths with the highly successful June IEC Workforce Development and Policy Conference. That, along with President Leedy’s testimony in front of House Subcommittee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions regarding National Labor Relations Board’s efforts to implement ‘card check’ and neutrality agreements, showed that merit shop electrical contractors will be heard.
We launched the Workforce Development Institute to dive deeply into the data and explore challenging situations that must be addressed to keep our industry strong.
We were boots on the ground — growing our apprentice community by 12.8% since 2022 and officially welcoming the Greater Charlotte IEC as our 52nd chapter.
Our leadership development efforts remained strong as the 2023 Emerging Leaders cohort tackled company culture, apprenticeship school culture, and retention for their industry impact projects. These projects underscored the outcomes from the Workforce Development Institute’s first research report, Understanding Barriers to Entry in the Electrical Trade.
We leaned heavily on our industry experts with active participation as speakers and advisors at IEC events and contributing educational content to IEC Insights magazine.
All of these things were made possible by chapters, National, volunteers, staff, and industry partners working together for the betterment of the whole. On behalf of your team at IEC National, I can say we all should be proud of our accomplishments, while keenly aware of additional work to be done and learning from our experiences. Let’s make 2024 great — together — as one.