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IBEW Training: Confidence in the Next Generation

Intern at UCOMM took an impressive tour of the Local 3 NYC training center

Ashley Blom's picture
Feb 04, 2019

Being an intern at UCOMM offers many opportunities. One of those opportunities was being able to get a VIP tour of IBEW Local 3’s state-of-the-art training center in Long Island City, a facility that produces “the best electricians in the world.”


The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 3 is one of the most prestigious unions in the United States. Based in New York City, it’s history, structure, scope and political reach is preceded by its stellar reputation.

I got the chance to meet Darlene Stokes, the Director of the MIJ Boot Camp at the Training Center and an active member of the Amber Light Society - a club that supports the female membership of Local 3 IBEW. Darlene gave us a tour of the training center and explained what goes on in each classroom and floor level. We went into some classes that were in session and it was amazing to see all the modern equipment they had on premises for the apprentices to use. Two specific areas that I learned much from the tour was the electric third rail training facility and MIJ boot camp rooms. It was impressive.

You can just tell that Darlene is one of those union leaders who is very passionate about her job and loves every second of it. Those are the types of people you want to have in your union, the ones with real-world experience who have put in the time. Thanks to people like Darlene, the union continues to move forward and grow. I wanted to see more women in the classes, and I hope that young women reading this in the tri-state region consider becoming a union electrician with Local 3. Local 3 has dedicated a lot of time, energy and resources into recruiting women into the trade – one of the highest paid trades in the Building Trades. After realizing that, I wish I had gotten the chance to speak to the young woman who I witnessed learning electric theory in one of the classrooms. I wanted to check-in and see how her apprenticeship is going and what it is like being one of the only females in that class.

This tour had an impact on me. I want to get more women to join the electrical trade, especially through Local 3 IBEW. A woman can do the job just as well as a man can. That is not an opinion, it is a fact. While there has been a concerted effort by unions like Local 3 to recruit more women, I want to see even more getting past the many barriers placed in front of them and apply to work in the Building and Construction Trades. A union like Local 3 IBEW has a great learning environment where they work to ensure all their apprentices excel, regardless of gender. Just because you are a woman does not mean you can’t do a man's job and never let anyone tell you different because a woman’s place is in her union and on the job. 

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