Every day across the breadth of New Jersey, construction contractors and their highly-skilled employees from the building trades go to work to build a strong New Jersey. Their work will leave behind a legacy in which they will take great pride and provide for the entertainment, commerce, industry, transportation and residences that New Jersey citizens and businesses will count on in the years to come. A capital industry, construction is the backbone of our economy, providing the fuel that will serve as a catalyst for economic growth. Throughout New Jersey, when construction users, public and private, seek to ensure that their projects, large or small, are completed on schedule and with the highest level of quality, they turn to contractors who work in partnership with union craftspersons to deliver for them.
Within the electrical construction and Voice-Data-Video (VDV) sectors of the construction industry, those contractors who have become signatory with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) are represented by the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). Locally, NECA’s Northern New Jersey Chapter represents contractors who hire workers from one or more of the state’s four IBEW Locals (102, 164, 400 and 456). These companies employ thousands of skilled electrical workers and VDV technicians who annually perform roughly 10-million man-hours of electrical construction to bring power, security and data to businesses, government agencies and citizens throughout the state of New Jersey. While it does not grab flashy headlines, these firms, both independently and through the NECA organization, partner with IBEW to provide world-class apprentice training programs to guarantee that their customers enjoy the benefits of having their projects completed by the finest craftsmen and women in the industry. These training programs are paid for by signatory contractors and union workers and are administered by Trustees selected from the IBEW and from NECA to ensure that the programs are: of the highest quality; that the participants perform to a standard that contractors and customers expect; and that they take advantage of the newest technologies available. Additionally, the commitment to training does not end with the graduation from the five-year program. IBEW and NECA offer a broad curriculum of classes designed to allow tradespersons to upgrade their skills, develop leadership ability or become fluent in new technologies like CAD or BIM. In fact, today’s apprentice classes are guaranteed to be populated by the foremen and women, project managers and contractors of the future!
While IBEW-signatory contractors deploy the finest workforce available, labor and management must work together to deliver to their customers the highest quality construction services. Employing the most highly trained, skilled and efficient electricians will not guarantee customer satisfaction. Business failures hurt the industry and the interests of construction users who have every right to receive uninterrupted, world-class service. Therefore, the elite IBEW workforce must be provided with the direction, management, technology and equipment that only the best contractors can offer. This is another area where NECA contractors have the advantage over their competitors since the Northern New Jersey Chapter and the national organization have always placed a premium upon providing their members with the support of high quality educational programming. Leveraging local education programs, its partnership with IBEW, and affiliations with academic institutions of national reputation, NECA’s Management Education Institute (MEI) and the chapter’s newly established New Jersey Academy of Electrical Contracting offer member contractors continuing education in a broad array of skills and disciplines including finance, job supervision and productivity, safety, business management and technology.
This commitment to education is supported by the work of ELECTRI International, The Foundation for Electrical Construction. This research organization is funded by contributions from NECA chapters, contractors and industry allies to conduct and coordinate critical research and educational programs designed to improve all aspects of the construction industry as well as identify and predict critical industry trends that will ensure NECA contractors will be able to constantly improve in their delivery of services, therefore ensuring customer satisfaction. Each year, ELECTRI International stakeholders select from competing research projects to select and fund the most relevant studies. From the adoption and integration of emerging technologies, to identifying and predicting critical industry trends, to best practices designed to increase productivity and improve workplace safety, to providing contractors with the business, customer service and finance skills they need to succeed in a challenging industry, ELECTRI International is working to build a better industry for the benefit of its customers.
NECA, locally and nationally, is also spearheading work on critical issues within the community of construction users. The customer, contractor and worker all share a common interest in workplace safety. NECA provides national support to contractors in the form of a series of educational programs, computer apps and primers, forms and other materials to train contractors and their employees on how to create company-wide safety policies and jobsite safety programs. This is supplemented at the local level by the chapter’s safety consultant who is available to any member for complimentary safety assessments and educational programming. NECA is also at the forefront of promoting “green” construction projects and putting them within the financial reach of commercial and industrial customers of all sizes through its Energy Conservation and Performance (E-CAP) platform. This program brings together private financing and surety providers, plus electrical contractors and customers, to provide financing solutions for energy retrofit programs that allow for the seamless construction of the project without any out-of-pocket costs for the construction user.
Together with the IBEW, NECA contractors employing world-class electricians literally bring the power that feeds the industrial and commercial backbone of New Jersey, wire up the security and entertainment systems that keep us safe and provide recreation and keep pace with the technology the breathes life into our economy. NECA members, from the largest publicly-traded corporation to the closely held family shop, take great pride in the fact that they not only provide outstanding construction services to their customers, but help form a rock-solid foundation upon which a community is built. They are more than merely construction contractors or corporate partners for economic growth – they are neighbors New Jersey can count on.