LIMA — After more than 100 years of helping area electricians gain skills in their field, the Lima Electrical Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee finally has its own facility.
The JATC’s new training center, located at 2285 N. Cole St. in Lima, celebrated its grand opening with an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday afternoon.
“To try to keep up with the demands of the electrical industry, we decided it was time to build our own facility,” said Jerry Dickrede, training director at the Lima Electrical JATC. “We’ve got everything under one roof, so we can do hands-on activities along with the book work. It also allows us to keep current with technology.”
The 14,000-square-foot facility includes five classrooms and two lab areas where apprentices can gain hands-on experience. The JATC acquired the former First Federal Bank in October 2012, and invested $1.7 million into purchasing, expanding and renovating the building.
Before acquiring the facility, the JATC held its training courses in various other buildings such as Lima Senior High School, Apollo Career Center and Rhodes State College. Dickrede said they were also limited in the amount of hands-on work they could do.
“The rented space was just classrooms, and didn’t provide us with the opportunity to train on the equipment we encounter in the field,” Dickrede said, adding that the new building is split evenly between labs and classrooms. “Having everything under one roof is much more convenient.”
Students going through the apprenticeship program receive more than 900 hours of classroom training and more than 8,000 hours of on-the-job training. In all, the program runs for five years.
The new facility will serve both apprentices and journeymen electricians who complete regular skills upgrade training.
“We’re trying to keep people current on what’s changing in the electrical industry,” Dickrede said. “You never stop learning when you’re a journeyman.”
The JATC is a joint partnership of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union Local 32 and the Western Ohio Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association. It serves Allen, Auglaize, Hardin, Logan, Mercer, Shelby, Van Wert and Wyandot counties.
Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @bush_lima.