The International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) recently selected David Morgan to serve as the new Executive Director of the National Elevator Industry Educational Program (NEIEP). ElevatorInfo visited the NEIEP Instructor Training Center in Warwick, RI, to speak with Dave about his new role and his plans for NEIEP’s growth and advancement.
“When the opportunity arose, I was excited to be part of making a great program even better,” he said. Dave comes to the NEIEP program with experience that gives him a broad and unique perspective on the educational needs of the elevator industry today. “My experience in the field working on elevators, and then subsequently becoming a Business Agent/Financial Secretary and a Business Manager of a good-sized Local (IUEC Local 4 in Boston), allows me to understand the program from the ground up,” he said.
Dave became an IUEC elevator constructor in the mid-1990s. After completing the NEIEP program he became a NEIEP instructor, teaching Boston-area apprentices and mechanics the fundamentals of the elevator trade for 21 years. While working days as a mechanic, he enrolled in night classes at Boston’s Wentworth Institute of Technology – a college that NEIEP now has a partnership with – and earned a degree in electronic engineering. He has also held positions as a National Coordinator for the Elevator Industry Work Preservation Fund, a National Organizer for the IUEC, and an International Vice President.
ElevatorInfo asked Dave about how the NEIEP program has changed since his days as an apprentice. “My experience as a helper was prior to the apprenticeship program,” he said. “The program that’s in place now is far superior…(it requires) 4 hours per night per week for 18 weeks, resulting in 72 hours per semester. In the days of old, it was a two-hour program for 15 weeks, which is approximately 30 hours’ worth of training. So we’ve doubled the training, we’ve doubled the experience.”
The amount of time students spend in the classroom isn’t the only thing that’s changed – the classroom experience for IUEC apprentices and mechanics is different as well, with a shift toward experiential learning through the use of hands-on labs and virtual simulators. Especially with the type of work an elevator constructor does, it’s important for people who work on elevators, escalators, and other conveyance systems to be able to safely practice working with complex and dangerous equipment in a controlled setting before encountering it in the field. “Back in the day, the instructor stood at the front of the classroom and read from a book…now we’ve got a multitude of labs, learning aids, interactive whiteboards, computer-based programs – in addition to the hands-on labs, there’s 3D animation that actually allows for our students to train on the equipment for the elevator industry without the risk of being injured.”
New continuing education courses for mechanics, recent updates to the national apprenticeship curriculum, and a more comprehensive training program for NEIEP instructors have given the program a boost forward in recent years. Dave plans to continue that momentum by modernizing NEIEP classrooms across the country and bringing in more advanced technology to keep NEIEP at the forefront of the industry’s education and training programs. “We have over a hundred training facilities all over the United States (and Puerto Rico), and our goal is to build a classroom that’s the same no matter where you go…whether you’re in Albuquerque, New Mexico, or in Alaska, when you walk into a NEIEP classroom you’ll know you’re in a NEIEP classroom.”
The NEIEP Instructor Training Center, a 98,000 square-foot facility located near Rhode Island’s T.F. Green International Airport, will be training hundreds of NEIEP instructors in the upcoming year. OSHA Trainer Courses, American Heart Association Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED, Scaffold and Access Industry Association (SAIA) Competent Person for Framed and Suspended Scaffolding, forklift operation, and Basic and Advanced Train the Trainer courses for classroom instructors – along with training on how to use new, specialized lab equipment for apprenticeship and continuing education courses – are just some of the classes conducted there year-round.
The NEIEP Instructor Training Center also houses NEIEP’s Development Department, where subject-matter experts from across the country gather with engineers, writers, and mechanical designers to produce new courses for elevator constructor apprentices and mechanics. Incorporating new technology, including a Virtual Reality component, into these courses is a priority for Dave as well. The first step toward that involves updating the NEIEP website, a project he’s already got underway.
“I’m most excited about bringing the NEIEP program to the next level. Today, it is a great program. With some help and dedication from the staff, tomorrow, NEIEP will be extraordinary.”