Job Training for Veterans in Electrical Profession


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VICE (Veterans in Construction Electrical)

A primary issue facing veterans is skilled job training, NECA/IBEW are helping to provide this job training for veterans and are turning out some of the best and brightest electrical professionals. VICE (Veterans in Construction Electrical) is more than an acronym – it’s a pathway to a career in construction through advanced job training for vets.

From the battle of Gettysburg, to the beaches of Normandy and the deserts of the gulf – our service men and women have fought and died for our freedoms and this time of year, are at the forefront of our minds.

But, in America today there’s a big problem facing our veterans for far too many the transition from soldier to citizen is a struggle.

Finding meaningful work is hard, made that much more difficult by the lingering affect war has on the mind and on the soul.

Thanks for being with us today on this edition of electric TV. I’m your host, Dominic Giarratano.

This memorial day, in true spirit of the holiday, we ask you to spend just a few minutes watching this story today – one which celebrates our veterans and their service by extending a helping hand and a lifeline to a career in construction.

Nearly ¼ of all homeless people are U.S armed forces veterans. It’s a staggering number – one that keeps growing higher and by all estimates, will only get worse as the ‘war on terror’ comes to an end.

Joseph A. Kraft – Vice Program’s Principal Instructor, Puget-Sound Electrical Jatc

“Right now there are about 130,000 homeless American military veterans. All you have to do is take a look at that number, and realize that something has to be done.”

And approximately twice that many former soldiers and sailors, captains, chiefs & colonels – 260,000 of them – experience some form homelessness over the course of a calendar year. That would be like filling the big house at the University of Michigan nearly two and a half times.

IBEW local 46 and the Puget-sound chapter of NECA are doing their part to reverse this trend the only way they know how – turning out the best and brightest electrical construction professionals.

Joseph Kraft – Vice Program’s Principal Instructor, Puget-Sound Electrical Jatc

“I don’t know if there is an official definition, but the acronym VICE stands for Veterans In Construction Electrical.”

William McCartan – Training Director, Puget-Sound Electrical Jatc

“We’ve set up this program so that qualified applicants, recent returned vets, can come in, apply, go through a short interview process and enter into an accelerated apprenticeship program.”
And these are just a few of the program’s participants:

“Jacob Hastings, and I was in electric and environmental systems in the Air Force, and I am a second year apprentice”

“My name is Janice Mann, I used to be an Air Force Arial port passenger services representative, and now I am a first year apprentice with the local 46 IBEW.”

“My name is Jeffery, I was in the United States Coast Guard and I retired there as a Chief electrician and I’m a fifth year apprentice.”

Just a few of the more than 175 veterans who’ve gone through the vice program since 2009.

Joseph Kraft – Vice Program’s Principal Instructor, Puget-Sound Electrical Jatc

“We’ve had a call from military personnel at the top levels, asking the union and the union contractors if they had a way to put military veterans to work. Well at the time, military veterans had to come into the program the way anybody else did. The program was created to fast track these military veterans, to get them working in as little as 90 days.”

Leeann Cochran – CEO, Cochran electric

“It’s a great programs, it’s a win-win program for everyone. It’s a win program for the veterans; it’s a win program for electrical contractors and the customers.”

Janice Mann – U.S. air force & 1st year apprentice, IBEW local 46

“Everything is amazing, it is a brotherhood, and it’s like having an extended family of a million people all over the world.

Jacob Hastings – U.S. air force & 2nd year apprentice, IBEW local 46

“They kind of… They’re a little bit more hard because they get you to go-go-go and you have to do everything at a certain point and time, and I mean, that works in the construction field, you know, you got to make deadlines and everything like that so it’s just… it makes it a lot easier to be able to transfer over because I am kind of used to that.”

Janice Mann – U.S. air force & 1st year apprentice, IBEW local 46

The IBEW is also a brotherhood, I came in, I’ve only been in a short while but I already have a connection the IBEW members. I go to the meetings, I love my brothers – and sisters.

Jeffrey Nuehausen – U.S. coast guard (retired) & 4th year apprentice, IBEW local 46

“The hours are long but you are learning new stuff every day. I think the union guys that I have been working with have been great. If they’ve got a bad bend, they want to fix it because they don’t want their work to look bad on them. It’s more professionalism, just like the military.”

Leeann Cochran – CEO, Cochran electric

“Having repeated customers and satisfaction from our customers is everything. The Vice individuals understand that they are representing a company because they have represented their country before.”

Joseph Kraft – Vice program’s principal instructor, Puget-sound electrical jatc

“I look up to them, indeed, I do. When it doesn’t take long for one to realize that these are the very people who put their lives on the line to see that we get to do what we do on a daily basis. With that realization, it’s not difficult to show them a bit of respect.”

The vice program is not only providing a service to veterans, but also to civilians as well, because projects in the pacific northwest are ever more being manned by courageous, knowledgeable and skilled men and women trading in their helmets for hardhats.

For more information on the program, head on over to

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