A&T Updates: Wrapping Up 2020 with Triumphs!

IEC National’s Apprentice of the Year (AOY) competition looked different this year. Instead of being held on the expo floor surrounded by vendor booths and cheering spectators, it was held at IEC of Greater Cincinnati among a much smaller group. The AOY Subcommittee altered the competition in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to keep staff, volunteers, and competitors safe.

“We discussed holding a virtual AOY or possibly not holding it all due to COVID-19, but ultimately agreed that showcasing our fourth-year apprentices and their hard work was critical and necessary,” said A&T Chairman George Thess. “With safety protocols in place and fewer volunteers and spectators, we felt confident that holding it in-person was doable and lower risk than a full-blown event with hundreds of people.”

Twenty-two chapters were represented at the competition. For some, it was their first time competing in years and it was exciting to see a diverse group of competitors representing all IEC regions.

“I am pleased that we were able to hold this event. All of these competitors had to make sacrifices and miss out on important fourth-year events due to COVID-19. A special thank you goes out to the AOY Subcommittee—a branch of the A&T Committee—and the President’s Advisory Council for allowing this event to occur,” said Vice President of Education and Training Paul Dolenc.

In addition to a different location, the hands-on portion of the competition changed too. Boards and scenarios from IEC National’s Certified Professional Electrician (CPE) credential took the place of AOY’s typical scenarios. Overall, the competition included

  • a written exam;
  • a ladder diagram;
  • conduit bending;
  • transformer and motor control scenarios; and
  • receptacle, switch, and door chime scenarios.

The productivity challenge, while not formally held, was calculated into scoring based on how quickly competitors finished each challenge. By competing in this year’s AOY competition, each competitor had a built-in opportunity to earn the CPE credential.

“COVID complicated things this year, so we adjusted our mindset and expectations,” said IEC San Antonio Training Director Raul Vasquez, the competition’s lead coordinator. “In some ways, I think our competition this year was more difficult because of its location, logistics, and hands-on challenges. I’m very proud of all the competitors. They, too, had to adjust their mindset and expectations. Each one gave it their all and showcased their skills.”

IEC’s 2020 Apprentice of the Year is Brandon Weis. Jessy Burris, earned second place; and Steve McGraw, earned third place.

Competitors who earned the CPE credential are…

Four-Year Curriculum Hands-On Activities

The Hands-On Activities Subcommittee, headed by A&T Committee member Jake Jackson of Juniper Electric, is making progress on developing hands-on activities and labs for First Year. The following objectives have been addressed and their activities loaded onto the IEC National CMS: 112.3, 113.1, and 126.1. Each objective includes three varieties of activities to accommodate chapters with or without lab facilities. There is one activity using paper and pencil, one using tabletop boards, and one using wall-mounted boards.

As future activities are developed, technical reviewers will be needed. If you are interested in serving as one, contact Chrissy Skudera (cskudera@ieci.org).

Limited Energy Task Force Develops Writing Templates

In order to streamline writing efforts, the Limited Energy Task Force created a template to help with the development of outlines. The goal is for each future module’s outline to be written at the same level of depth and detail.

“As we’ve learned from our other modules, some of our outlines were not detailed enough for our writers. Unfortunately, this slowed current progress but gave us insight on how we can improve the writing process,” said A&T Committee member Dave Gilson of Tera Byte Technologies, who serves as head of the task force. “Outlines for our audio systems and specialized controls modules are currently in development, and this new process is a huge improvement.”

At the time of print, Module 1: Introduction to Limited Energy Systems is complete and ready for beta testing; Module 2: Structured Cabling is under technical review; and Module 3: CCTV and Integrated Systems is in development.

For more information on the Limited Energy Program, contact Chrissy Skudera (cskudera@ieci.org).

IEC National Celebrates Instructor Rich Bird Achieving Level III Certification

Rich Bird, a lead instructor out of IEC of New England, reached Level III instructor certification. He is one of two instructors in the IEC family to earn this certification. The first was A&T Committee Member Mike Gunter of IEC of Atlanta.

Bird has been teaching at the chapter since 1996 and has been an IEC New England Continuing Education Instructor for Connecticut and Massachusetts for more than ten years. He met Level III criteria by completing his continuing education activity requirement of serving as a proctor at this year’s AOY competition. This requirement is paired with several others including receiving endorsements, completing Level I and II certifications, and teaching for the IEC for at least five years.

“Apprenticeship is important to me because that is the future of our industry. Had someone not taken the time to teach me, I would not be where I am today,” said Bird.

“Instructing has been a passion for me for many years and IEC has always been a leader when it comes to apprenticeship training. With the CMS format, we as instructors will need to continue to enhance and develop new skills to adapt. Achieving my Level III certification will help me to continue to grow as an instructor,” he added.

Richard was recognized as the IEC Instructor of the Year 2020 at the Virtual IEC Convention on October 30.

To learn more about IEC Instructor Certification, visit www.ieci.org/instructors-resources/instructor-training.

New Worker Program Adds Conduit Bending Module

IEC’s New Worker Program added the Introduction to Conduit Bending module to its library. The program now includes 13 modules and remains $550 for an annual subscription. Those chapters who previously ordered the New Worker Program will receive access to this module at no additional charge.

Platinum Partner Southwire provided several images as well as how-to videos for its BENDMAX™ Power Bender and BENDstation™ Common Cart Work Station.

“I’m happy to finally add this module to the program. It’s critical for green apprentices to learn the basics of conduit bending so they’re familiar with it later on in the field,” said IEC El Paso Executive Director Sara Navarro, the project’s lead. “I hope chapters and students find this a great addition to the program.”

To submit ideas for new modules or to learn more about the program, contact Chrissy Skudera (cskudera@ieci.org).

Chrissy Skudera is the senior director of curriculum development for IEC National.

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