Posted on Aug 10, 2007
John M Grau
I’m on my way back from Knoxville, Tenn., where I attended the graduation ceremony for the 2007 class of the National Training Institute (NTI). The NTI is a program sponsored by our NJATC. Over 1,900 instructors and training directors from our local JATCs attended this year. They spent the last week learning the latest training techniques and technical skills needed to be the best trainers in the industry. This is the NTI’s 18th year, and it is quite an undertaking.
The NTI is conducted in cooperation with the adult and continuing education center of the University of Tennessee. The week-long program is packed with educational and training opportunities for our JATC instructors, as well as our own contractor personnel. Whenever I tour the NTI classroom sessions, I’m always amazed at how enthusiastic and energetic the participants are. Upon leaving class, many of them seek out NECA and IBEW leaders to personally thank us for the opportunity to participate in the Institute.
In order to graduate, training instructors must attend NTI for four years. The graduation ceremony is held at the historic Tennessee Theater, and the energy and sense of accomplishment there is no less significant than you would find at a college graduation event. This year, Ed Hill and I offered a few remarks to the graduating class. We reiterated the strength of the NECA-IBEW partnership and the role that the new graduates will have in supporting that partnership. Our trainers are a vital link to workforce development, and their personal commitment to this industry shines through in every course they led and to every apprentice they help train and mentor.
On a side note, when I was leaving Knoxville, I drove by Neyland Stadium where the University of Tennessee Vols play. I’m sure it’s a nice enough place and fairly roomy, but I couldn’t help but notice that it’s still a few thousand seats short of Michigan Stadium – college football’s largest venue. Did I mention that the college football session starts in a few weeks? GO BLUE!