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 https://www.neiep.org/bst-Default.aspx.