During the day, the Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (JATC) Training Center provides apprenticeship training through classroom learning and hands-on labs to electricians looking to find their way into the field. After hours, however, the training center opens its doors to experienced electricians and field leaders who are wrapping up their day on the jobsite to gain additional instruction, training, and continuing education.
Egan Company recently added these continuing education opportunities to trades professionals. In the past, there had been similar courses which were well-attended but had stopped during the COVID-19 Pandemic. In the fall of 2023, Egan’s Industrial Controls team sought to bring these courses back to their electricians to further refine their skills and provide new opportunities to learn and grow professionally.
From Instrumentation and Control Drawings Print Reading (P&ID) to Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) and basic motor controls, the monthly courses offered through JATC have given electricians hands-on experience working with projects they may not have a chance to otherwise, and have become popular among Egan electricians.
The JATC courses typically start with classroom instruction, taught by JATC instructors. This part of the course brushes up on technical knowledge, refreshes the students on key concepts, and covers what they can expect to see when they get to the lab portion. For some, the material is a breeze, as they have recently completed their own apprenticeships or are using similar skills currently on the jobsite. Others find these courses to be a challenge, entering into unfamiliar territory due to not needing certain skill sets or knowledge in their field experience thus far. No matter where participating electricians are at, they find encouragement, collaboration, and support during these courses, and they enjoy refining their skills and improving themselves as skilled trades professionals.
After the classroom part of the night, participants are treated to dinner, which gives everyone a chance to catch up and get to know each other better. Many electricians in these courses know each other from their apprenticeships, past jobs, and even past continuing education courses.
Then comes the fun part: the lab portion of the evening. In the lab, electricians get hands-on practice applying their skills and what they just learned in the classroom. Practicing their skills in a controlled environment gives students the opportunity to talk things through without the pressure of completing the job or making a mistake that can set a project’s timeline back. Of course, safety precautions are still essential in the lab, but the risk is lower in a controlled environment, with power being shut off to each module until teams are ready to test their work.
During the lab portion, JATC instructors and Egan employees are available to help, to troubleshoot, and to provide answers where needed. This is truly a collaborative, learning environment where electricians aren’t afraid to ask questions, help each other where they can, and share in their excitement when they complete their lab successfully.
BRINGING SKILLS BACK TO THE JOB
The ultimate goal of these continuing education courses is to improve the technical knowledge and skills of electricians working in the field. By working in a collaborative, controlled environment where they can touch up on different skill sets with like-minded teammates, Egan’s trades professionals can continue to learn and grow, bringing their new skills back to the jobsite.
Some electricians find themselves attending month after month, while others seek out specific courses to refresh their skills. Most recently at the basic motor controls class, one electrician noted that he thought this topic sounded interesting, and that it had been a while since he worked on anything like this. No matter the topic, there is never a doubt whether or not these classes will fill up, with a few courses adding second dates due to popularity. Every month, attendance reaches capacity, from new students hearing about the courses to returning electricians looking for new challenges.
Egan’s entire team, from administration professionals to trades professionals, is dedicated to continuously improving in order to be safe on the jobsite and to deliver best-in-class service and products to customers every day.