State of the Industry

Industry Update

Written by
Timothy Gauthier
Executive Manager
Oregon-Columbia Chapter, NECA


The electrical construction industry as a whole in Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington has been slowly improving along with the economy. This has become a great opportunity for Electrical Contractors to sharpen their skill level and broaden their horizons for work in the Renewable Energy and Sustainable Building practices. There are more opportunities to bring these options to current customers through new technology and State and Federal tax credits.

In addition the high tech sector has increased our picture considerably with continuous work anticipated into the near future. With this situation we have increased our new apprentice indentureship and employment of Industry Support Techs.

Training is Key

Because of current and future demands for electrical construction work, a primary focus for our NECA Chapter and IBEW Local 48 is training. A well-trained workforce is productive and cost-effective. Our ability to maintain this kind of skilled work force is the key to our ability to continue to meet the demands of our marketplace for high-quality, high-safety, electrical-construction work.

To this end, we are stepping up efforts to recruit apprentices to our award-winning Apprenticeship Training Program. We have also made some important changes. First, we have moved to a Day School format to increase training efficiency at our state-of-the-art Training Center. We have also instituted a two-week 'boot-camp intensive' to better prepare new apprentices for their arrival on jobsites. Read more about these innovative changes on our Training page.

Partnering Successes

Our active partnering efforts help us identify and resolve challenges in our industry on an on-going basis. For example, during our most-recent contract negotiations, partnering enabled us to work through issues prior to our negotiating sessions so that the actual negotiations concluded quickly and successfully. Through this cooperative effort, we were able to make changes in contract items that had been unchanged for more than 30 years and no longer reflected conditions in today's electrical construction industry. Read more about partnering on our Partnering page.

Industry Involvement Continues

Through NECA's Codes and Standards programs, our Chapter is an active part of national NECA's continuing efforts to advance the cause of electrical safety and help improve the quality of electrical construction. In addition, many of our members have also taken advantage of NECA's Management Education Institute programs. These programs focus on building the business and project-management knowledge and skills required for the success and continuous improvement of the electrical contracting industry in the 21st century.

Together, the licensed contractors of the Oregon-Columbia Chapter of NECA and the skilled electricians of IBEW Local 48 are working to provide reliable, cost-effective, and state-of-the-art electrical work today - and to prepare for an exciting future.