Construction on an additional 12,000 square feet of space at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 1579 on Reynolds Street, to be used for educational programs, is almost complete. Officials are tentatively planning an open house before the end of the month.
“Electricians are the most highly skilled craftsmen in the construction industry, and this facility is being built for the electricians of the future,” said Ken Ward, the union business manager.
Ward said that electricians will be in high demand over the next few years and that having skilled workers who are up to date on the latest innovations and technologies will be important.
“Over 800 electricians will be needed at Plant Vogtle, and at the Savannah River Site in the MOX project probably between 500 and 800 will be needed in that job,” he said.
Construction on the $1.5 million expansion began in January.
Ward said that after the construction project is completed,he expects many of the electricians to find full-time employment at those sites.
The new educational space on Reynolds Street will help accommodate some of the training classes.
Much of the classroom training for apprentice electricians takes place at Augusta Technical College, but the new facility will house space for a welding program and additional classroom space for experienced electricians to receive continuing education.
The continuing education will include classes for high- and low-level voltage, fiber-optics and Occupational Safety and Health Administration-required 10-hour and 30-hour courses.
Ward said 66 new apprentices were added to the program recently and should begin training in September. There are additional spots for those who want to take part in the five-year training program to become electricians.
The program is a combination of on-the-job training and classes.
Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent, take an aptitude test and go through an interview to be considered for the training.