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• Apprenticeships electric operations serve to teach new employees required skills.
Apprenticeship training includes classroom training and on-the job activities. Knowledge
transfer occurs when apprentices are assigned to work side-by-side with journeyman for
• Each linemen apprentice attends one 3-week course, four 2-week courses, and one 1-
week course over three years. AmerenCILCO belongs to the National Joint Apprentice
and Training Committee (NJATC) and uses their training templates. NJATC is a joint
program between the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and has clearly demonstrated a
cost-effective way to train qualified craft workers.
• When hiring into the apprentice program the applicant's previous knowledge and
experience may be helpful in securing a position, but it will not advance him or her in a
pay grade. However, when AmerenCILCO is able to hire experienced journeyman
linemen, the current labor agreement permits hiring into the journeyman rate.
Unfortunately, attracting seasoned journeyman linemen in the current competitive
employment marketplace has proven difficult.
• Given the current 4-year (soon to be 3-year) apprentice training program, AmerenCILCO
has to hire in advance of known journeyman retirements or hire experienced journeyman
linemen if it wishes to maintain its current journeyman employment levels and in-house
technical skills. This practice helps to develop staff so they are ready when needed and
also supports knowledge transfer.
• Until the current year, the AmerenCILCO organization had not hired a new apprentice in
7 years. In 2001 (the last year an apprentice was hired before this year), the total
number of overhead journeyman linemen (including crew leaders) totaled 85. Today the
total stands at 68, a reduction in staff of over 38 percent. However, the reduction in staff
is actually greater from a skills gap perspective. Given the apprentice program, plus the
reality that it takes another 3 years at a minimum to create a fully versed journeyman
linemen, it will be at least 6 years until the newly hired apprentice is as technically
qualified as the linemen leaving the journeyman position. Thus, from a skills gap
perspective, assuming only 2% journeyman linemen attrition, the effective linemen
workforce could be as low as 56 employees before the impact of the recently hired
apprentices is fully felt.
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