May 2, 2017

U.S. Senator Cory Gardner Receives Award at IECRM Facility

On behalf of IEC National, IECRM presented U.S. Senator Cory Gardner with the 2016 Legislator of the Year Award.

Receiving an Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) National Award is a tremendous achievement.  The 2016 recipient of the IEC Legislator of the Year award, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), recently accepted his honor during a special reception held at the Independent Electrical Contractors Rocky Mountain’s (IECRM) Northglenn, Colorado facility.  

Senator Gardner toured the facility with Colorado State Senator Kevin Priola, City of Northglenn Mayor Joyce Downing, and City of Firestone Mayor Paul Sorensen. Senators Gardner and Priola participated in a friendly timed electrical competition in the IECRM lab where 1,300 students are trained annually.

“It is an honor to be recognized as the Legislator of the Year by the Independent Electrical Contractors,” said Gardner.  “I enjoyed my visit to the IEC Rocky Mountain facility and meeting with the apprentices and instructors.  And, I will continue to support vocational education that leads to high paying jobs for Coloradans and Americans across the country.”

Ensuring continued funding for federal job training programs is integral to electrical contractors seeking skilled workers and bolsters America’s recovering economy by providing job seekers with the training they need to find employment. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), electricians will have a 23 percent growth rate between 2010 and 2020, which is higher than the national average job growth rate. Even so, the industry is still experiencing a shortage of qualified workers.

IEC has more than 50 chapter training centers nationwide that, in a good economy, provide training to almost 10,000 apprentices each year. IEC’s training program provides knowledge, technical skills, and practical experience necessary to succeed in today’s electrical trade.

Signed by President Obama in 2014, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act, provides funding and programs that are integral to the education and training of the next generation of highly skilled electrical workers.  WIOA provides for $9.5 billion in funding, subject to the congressional appropriations process, and authorizes key employment and training programs and the American Job Center (or “One-Stop Center”) service delivery system. 

A number of IEC chapters currently receive funding through several key workforce development programs that have helped them to train more than 7,000 apprentices per year. The expanded funding eligibility of WIOA presents both opportunities and challenges for IEC chapters seeking to take advantage of the newly reauthorized and improved workforce investment system as increased competition for funding can be expected.