When it comes to learning a trade, there’s nothing more beneficial than hands-on experience. The National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC) programs, which train people to become qualified electrical workers, combine the knowledge, experience, and teamwork of electrical industry craftsmen, organizations, as well as manufacturers.

After recognizing the need for standardized training, the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) joined forces in 1941 and founded the NJATC to develop uniform standards and curriculum for use in local programs nationwide. Today, NJATC programs train more than 30,000 apprentices per year at no cost to taxpayers and are responsible for educating the highly skilled work force needed to meet the needs of an ever-changing technology. In collaboration with the NJATC, many electrical manufacturers have developed supplementary educational materials in their areas of expertise.

One prime example are the Wiring Device Basic Training Kits, developed by Leviton Manufacturing Co. The company designed this program as a multimedia resource for in-class and self-tutorial instruction. The kits include all the components necessary to effectively teach students about electrical devices. Current offerings include kits for switches, receptacles, and GFCIs. In the future, the company plans to add kits for occupancy sensors, lighting controls, telecommunications, and multimedia devices. Each kit contains a 16-min to 20-min video covering device descriptions, components, applications, and installation; an identical CD-ROM for Windows 95/98/NT; an audio cassette for reinforcement; and a technical brochure with an overview, wiring diagrams, definitions, and self-test. It also includes product samples of the devices for hands-on learning, and a product card with a concise description of each item. So far, student response has been favorable. According to Rick Hecklinger, Assistant to the Executive Director of the NJATC, apprentices have found the Leviton kits to be “high quality” and “packaged right” for the program.