The International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) recently joined the National Elevator Industry Educational Program (NEIEP) and IUEC Local 133 in Austin, Texas to highlight the central role the union’s education and training program plays in creating pathways to fulfilling careers in the elevator industry.
“In the elevator trade, there is no training in the same league as the National Elevator Industry Educational Program,” said Texas AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Leonard Aguilar. “Men and women enrolled in NEIEP have access to the industry’s premier apprenticeship program – which helps them become the safest, most highly-skilled apprentices and elevator constructors in vertical transportation.”
Attendees ranged from IUEC members and lawmakers – including members of the Austin City Council – to representatives from the Texas Building Trades Council and the Texas AFL-CIO. Companies like TK Elevator, Otis, and Schindler, as well as three independent companies, were also in attendance.
Texas House Member Gina Hinojosa (District 49) and newly elected U.S. House Representative Greg Casar (District 35) took time out of their hectic schedules to visit the fair, tour each station, and talk with instructors about hands-on training and education opportunities in the organized elevator trade.
“Union apprenticeship programs create meaningful opportunities for working people throughout the Lonestar State,” said Representative Hinojosa. “IUEC members are the safest, most talented workers in the elevator industry; their NEIEP training really sets them up for success.”
“Visiting the NEIEP fair was nothing short of impressive,” said Congressman-elect Greg Casar. “As I traveled from station to station, it was clear that IUEC members go through world-class, thorough training, making union elevator constructors the best and brightest in the industry.”
With a combination of hands-on classroom and computer-based instruction, along with 8,000 hours of on-the-job learning under the supervision of an experienced mechanic, the IUEC’s apprenticeship program gives workers new to the trade all the skills they need to be successful elevator constructors. Once they complete their apprenticeship and pass a capstone Mechanic Exam, they go on to build and maintain the complex and varied conveyance systems in our nation’s most striking skylines. And as mechanics, they keep their skills sharp through dozens of online and in-person continuing education courses they can enroll in through NEIEP.
“On behalf of the more than 1,800 union elevator constructors in Texas, the NEIEP event in Austin was a great success,” said IUEC Organizer Clarence Baker. “We wanted lawmakers, companies, and others to come in and witness what it takes to become a union elevator constructor – and we did just that. From safety to electrical, each course is critical and, frankly, invaluable. Attendees saw firsthand how the knowledge and skills IUEC members take away from their four years at NEIEP ensure they are the most talented and safest workforce, and when it comes to safety, our members not only prioritize the safety of themselves and their colleagues but also that of the men, women, and children who ride elevators and escalators every day.”
The all-day event took place at the Hilton Austin, a hotel whose employees were recently organized and are now members of UNITE HERE.
“At NEIEP’s core, we are all about safety. Everything we teach and everything we do is to help apprentices stay safe at work,” said NEIEP’s Head of Development, Lester White. “Without education and training, how can employers expect any worker to feel safe on the job? Graduates of NEIEP know this complex field inside and out. What’s more, they know that nothing comes before safety – their own safety and that of the riding public.”