The International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) has recently worked in collaboration with Survival Systems USA in Groton, CT, to offer Global Wind Organization (GWO) Basic Training to elevator technicians/constructors who install, maintain, service, and repair wind industry equipment. According to Survival Systems, the GWO Basic Safety Training program (GWO-BST) “was created as the safety standard for those working at height in the wind industry. It is globally recognized and ensures that any GWO-BST certificate holder has demonstrated competence and proficiency.”

The United States Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy estimates that the average wind turbine is typically between 300 – 500 feet tall1. That would be a very big ladder for a wind service technician to have to climb to access the nacelle, which is the turbine’s electromechanical system comprised of the generator, turbine shaft, gearbox, and other components. This is a task that must be carried out regularly, as this complex and sensitive equipment requires regular maintenance and occasional repair. In order to make these trips safer and more efficient, a good percentage of wind turbines are equipped with elevators inside their towers. Because these types of elevators are built, maintained, serviced, and repaired by elevator constructors who have been doing this work for 125 years, it was a natural fit for them to continue to work safely on conveyances within this new equipment.

Today, highly-trained elevator mechanics from across the United States not only keep wind turbine elevators running, they do it efficiently, and above all else, safely. IUEC-affiliated companies currently maintain wind turbine elevators from the west coast all the way to the east coast, including those at Deepwater Wind’s trailblazing Block Island Wind Farm, the country’s first commercial offshore wind farm.

Through the new training program at Survival Systems USA, elevator technicians/constructors who work on wind technology equipment become certified in the following areas:

  • GWO BST-1005 Basic Safety Training
  • GWO BST-WAH-1002 Work at Height
  • GWO BST-MH-102 Manual Handling
  • GWO BST-FA-2002 Medic First Aid + Trauma
  • GWO BST-FA-101 Fire Awareness
  • GWO-SS GWO Sea Survival
  • GWO-EFA Enhanced First Aid
  • GWO-ART Advanced Rescue Training

This training is in addition to the four-plus year USDOL-Registered Apprenticeship training program that IUEC members complete through the National Elevator Industry Educational Program (NEIEP). NEIEP apprenticeship includes eight semesters of classroom instruction along with 8,000 hours of supervised on-the-job learning. The intense, safety-focused core curriculum covers all facets of erecting, constructing, installing, altering, testing, repairing, and maintaining elevators, escalators, moving walks, and other related conveyance equipment.

IUEC members’ competencies include:

  • Ability to work at height
  • Mechanical aptitude
  • Ability to follow instruction
  • Analytical skills
  • Ability to work effectively in small teams
  • Self-motivated/directed
  • High/low voltage wiring
  • Control wiring and diagnostics
  • Hydraulics and pipe fitting
  • Electro-mechanics and motors

All of these skills transfer easily to the wind industry.

In addition, during their apprenticeship, IUEC members earn certifications in OSHA 10-hour for General Industry and Construction, American Heart Association Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED, Competent Person training for Framed and Suspended Scaffolding (through the SAIA), and industry-specific crane rigging and signaling. Our CSPR Rigging and Signaling certification is accredited as a 17024 Personnel Certification Program by ANSI and is therefore held to the most rigorous standards in the industry. The process used by ANSI to accredit certification bodies is based on an international standard (ISO/IEC 17011). Adherence to a rigorous internationally recognized accreditation process ensures that the ANSI process conforms to the highest accreditation standard, and represents the best practices in accreditation. ANSI is the only personnel certification accreditation body in the United States to meet nationally accepted practices for accreditation bodies.

All apprenticeship training and continuing education courses, including those conducted at Survival Systems USA in Connecticut, are covered by members’ education benefit, so there are no additional out-of-pocket costs for IUEC members to attend.

Wind power generation is a global industry, and safety is the number one priority for companies operating within this space. Compare the specific skills needed for installation, repair, maintenance, and inspection of wind turbines against the checklist of core competencies of IUEC mechanics –the skills IUEC members master during their training and apply in their work with a broad range of conveyance equipment meet and exceed those required by the wind industry. IUEC mechanics have the education and experience necessary to fulfill the needs of the wind power industry; this new collaboration with Survival Systems USA will equip our mechanics with the specialized skills required to take wind technology to new heights.

1 “Wind Turbines: the Bigger, the Better” Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, accessed January 23, 2023,’s%20hub%20height,as%20the%20Statue%20of%20Liberty!

The International Union of Elevator Constructors’ National Elevator Industry Educational Program (NEIEP) has recently opened the doors of a brand new, state-of-the-art, 98,000-square-foot instructor training center in Warwick, RI. Conveniently located just a 3-minute drive from Rhode Island’s T.F. Green Airport, the facility will train classroom and distance learning teachers from across the United States.

For more than ten years, Lester White, Department Head of Development has led the NEIEP Development staff in the creation of new courses along with an update of the program’s existing curricula to meet the rapidly-changing needs of the elevator industry. In the video, you will see footage of the new building and hear Lester speak more about the exciting things going on at NEIEP.

It’s not enough to simply write new textbooks – the hands-on learning that takes place in NEIEP classrooms must be taught by instructors who are thoroughly trained in how the complex lab equipment used in NEIEP courses functions, and knowledgeable about the most relevant pedagogical methods for communicating that information to students. To ensure NEIEP instructors are at the top of their game, the program has been bringing them to NEIEP headquarters for training for some time.

Until the NEIEP Instructor Training Center opened its doors in late 2021, instructor training generally took place in hotel conference rooms or at the program’s headquarters building in Attleboro Falls, Massachusetts. As NEIEP grew from a generalized training course to a nationally-recognized, US Department of Labor-Registered Apprenticeship – and went from offering a couple of Continuing Education courses for experienced mechanics to dozens of classroom-based and online courses for journeypersons – physical space at the headquarters building became increasingly limited. Locals all across the country were putting in requests to send their NEIEP instructors to the popular Basic and Advanced Train the Trainer teaching skills programs, as well as training on the specialized lab equipment used in Apprenticeship and Continuing Education courses.

By the mid-2010s, virtually all of these courses were being conducted at airport hotels in Rhode Island. It worked for the most part, but it meant that any scheduling of classroom space had to be done a year or more in advance and that NEIEP’s Development Team had to work around the hotel’s limitations for space and room availability. Plus, all of the lab equipment had to be brought on trucks to and from the hotel, where it was set up and broken down again and again, necessitating additional staff time as well as causing wear and tear on sensitive lab components. After several years of working around these limitations, it became clear that a different solution was needed.

To meet the growing need for instructor training in the elevator industry, NEIEP purchased a new building out by T.F. Green International Airport. Long used as a storage facility for boats, cars, and other equipment, the building was large, sparse, and had tremendous possibility. After working with a local architecture firm that had extensive experience building educational and commercial spaces, final plans for the design of the new NEIEP Instructor Training Center were approved. Construction began in the early months of 2020, just as the country was shutting down in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Amazingly, the team was able to set up a safe environment so that the tradespeople could continue their work on the building in accordance with state, local, and national restrictions, and ultimately finish construction of the project ahead of schedule and under budget.

Today, the NEIEP Instructor Training Center is buzzing with activity. When ElevatorInfo visited, staff from the Elevator Industry Work Preservation Fund were leading an OSHA 500 course to certify NEIEP instructors to teach OSHA 10 certification courses to Semester 100 and Continuing Education students all throughout the country. In another area of the building, NEIEP instructors were learning how to teach Continuing Education courses using the Valve Simulator, which teaches elevator constructors how to make sensitive adjustments to hydraulic valve equipment in a safe, controlled environment before performing this complicated work in the field. In another classroom, they were being trained on how to conduct courses using new motor labs for a Continuing Education course on Motor Alignment. And in yet another classroom, new teachers were learning about the fundamentals of pedagogy and classroom management in Basic Train the Trainer.

This year, more than a thousand IUEC members will spend time at the facility getting prepared to teach all eight semesters of the Apprenticeship Program and certify elevator constructor apprentices and mechanics in American Heart Association Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED, Scaffold and Access Industry Association (SAIA) Competent Person for Framed and Suspended Scaffolding, forklift operation, and more.

The new NEIEP Instructor Training Center is something every IUEC member should be proud of. It ensures our instructors will continue to be the best-of-the-best, most highly trained and qualified in the elevator trade. Because the quality of our educational offerings is so high, NEIEP credits are recognized as college-level learning and can be converted to up to 58 transfer credits through partnerships with a number of accredited colleges and universities across the United States. And all NEIEP courses are covered by IUEC members’ education benefit, so there are no additional costs for apprentices or mechanics to attend.

If you find yourself in the Ocean State, stop by and visit Lester and NEIEP’s Development team at the NEIEP Instructor Training Center.

For more information about the most comprehensive education program in the elevator industry, check out

ElevatorInfo recently sat down with Desalia Gomes, a second-year elevator constructor apprentice at @International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) Local 4 in Boston who got her start through a pre-apprenticeship program for the union building trades at Building Pathways. “Having taken this road is super-exciting. My career is exceptional,” she says.

For several years, IUEC Local 4 has partnered with the Boston-based nonprofit organization to improve recruitment, retention, and advancement strategies for under-represented groups in the elevator industry. For people who are new to the building trades, pre-apprenticeship programs like this one provide a solid foundation in the basics of working in the construction industry.

Building Pathways’ mission is to increase the number of diverse workers in the building trades workforce, particularly women, people of color, and young adults. Their pre-apprenticeship program provides over 200 hours of career readiness and occupational skills training, along with case management and placement services to help their students become competitive applicants during the recruitment process for union construction trades, including electricians, carpenters, bricklayers, sheet metal workers, elevator constructors, laborers, ironworkers, drywall finishers, and more. In addition to teaching them things like how to wear PPE and use basic hand and measurement tools, the program connects students with referrals to community resources including childcare, transportation, and housing. By the time they graduate from training, they’re ready to begin careers in the union building trades.

In the video posted here, Desalia shares the story of how Building Pathways provided an access point for her starting her dream job in the elevator industry. Like many of the people who pursue careers in this trade, Desalia was drawn in by the challenge of developing the wide range of knowledge and advanced skill set that elevator mechanics need to be successful. “I knew I would never be bored,” she says. “You’re going to learn how to put in floors or do carpentry, you’re going to learn how to weld… you have the ability to do all of the different trades.”

The appeal of job growth and new opportunities inside of the elevator trade seem to equally excite her. “I want to make sure I’m not stuck in one place… I want to make sure I have avenues for growth… there is no ceiling here.”

For more information about the Building Pathways pre-apprenticeship program, visit their website at

“The first thing that’s important here at TK Elevator is the safety of the mechanics, and that’s our first priority, always, every day,” says Mary Salvo, service superintendent for IUEC signatory contractor TK Elevator. ElevatorInfo recently met with Mary in Chicago, Illinois, to talk about strategies she uses to ensure the mechanics on her team work safe and make it home to their families at the end of each day.

Working with 12 mechanics out of @IUEC Local 2, Mary knows how important it is to keep safety first and foremost. Whatever TK Elevator’s mechanics need in order to do their jobs – from parts and PPE to help with safety audits – Salvo is there to help. “They call me and tell me they might need an extra person, or they need a part, or whatever the case may be,” she says. “I carry PPE in my truck in bins – whether it be gloves, glasses, hand sanitizer… all the PPE is on the truck. So as I go out, I bring them whatever they may need.”

Prioritizing safety by staying prepared is part of what’s made Mary a valued employee of TK Elevator for the last 17 years. She cited weekly toolbox talks with mechanics that combine company-specific safety training, safety alerts provided by the IUEC, and conversations about how to improve jobsite safety as a way to make sure everyone is focused on working safe. “We have a toolbox talk every Tuesday (to) go over incidents that have happened, and use some of the scripts from the IUEC that they send over letting us know of any accidents…we get phone calls from mechanics who pull out their stop card if they don’t feel that they can do the job safely and require another mechanic.” Having this feedback from the IUEC and mechanics helps Mary guide the discussions to ensure everyone on the team is aware of specific risks they may encounter and knows what steps they need to take to protect themselves, their coworkers, and the riding public.

Because TK Elevator employees received their initial training through the National Elevator Industry Educational Program (NEIEP) – a rigorous, USDOL-registered apprenticeship – they came into the trade with a solid foundational knowledge of the industry’s safest and most well-established work practices. Core classes in elevator industry-specific jobsite safety, along with third-party certifications including OSHA 10, SAIA Competent Person Training for Framed and Suspended Scaffolds, American Heart Association Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED, and an ANSI-accredited certification in Rigging and Signaling ensure that IUEC mechanics have the knowledge, skills, and abilities they need to be the safest and most efficient workers in the industry.

As the mechanics’ point of contact with TK Elevator, having a strong relationship with the IUEC is vital. From coordinating toolbox talks to seeking answers about important on-the-job issues, building trusted partnerships between the union and its signatory contractors helps keep things running smoothly and safely.

“The relationship is strong and it has to be strong,” said Salvo. “We’re grateful that we have the IUEC.”