Education is vital in our industry, whether it is needed because of improvements in technology and installation methods or because of changes in codes and standards. The only constant we have is that our electrical world is constantly changing.
Lately, the economy has become an important change factor as well. Education not only helps us keep up-to-date with emerging technologies which result in changes in code enforcement, but it can also be a factor in maintaining employment or a vital aid in finding a new position.
IAEI has been one of the best resources for training and education in our industry; but with our current economy, how does IAEI continue to provide the educational resources that are needed by those in our industry? Training and education have to start at the grass roots level by the individual chapters and the education committees of each chapter. The chapters are a vital link in the chain that brings training and educational programs by the International Office Education Department out to the chapter or division levels. In turn, the chapter or division filters back information to the International Office on the specific needs of our members. The local chapter or division is the voice of IAEI members!
Local committees assist in the preparation, creation and dissemination of training and educational materials. They help to bring together a uniform message and continuity of learning that has relevance to our members and others.
In addition, they can share what works and what does not work, and assist each other in providing valuable education and also in keeping the chapter and committees active and vibrant. Ideas for presentations, ways to find speakers, the mechanics of setting up a continuing education session or ideas for effective business meetings are all things that should not have to be reinvented each time a chapter division or section has a new education committee. Only through sustained and frequent communication with others can a chapter, division or section avoid the pitfalls of stagnation or the loss of knowledge.
With the cutbacks in travel and money for many speakers due to the economy, committees will be looking for new ways to provide the needed training and education programs. When a good networking system is in place to share information, all of our sections, chapter and divisions will have access to the ideas that work and to opportunities to enhance their own programs.
What does this actually mean to the member of a committee? It means first, of course, that there must be a committee. The committee must meet to set up areas of responsibility— from finding meeting locations, to getting speakers for a presentation, to ensuring proper procedures are followed for providing continuing education units for a session. This is not a one person job!
Second, committees should follow the Education Committee guidelines that can be found on the IAEI Website http://www.iaei.org/committee/. Minutes of each meeting and each education presentation should be taken and recorded. This information should be forwarded to the other chapters in the section and to the International Education Department for sharing with other sections, chapters and divisions. IAEI cannot move forward without this information.
Third, make sure your Education Committee is part of the solution that strengthens the vital link that brings training and educational programs to our members.
Compiled by the Education Committee
Alan Manche – Western Section, Chairman
Lanny McMahill – Southwestern Section
Richard Jendzo – Eastern Section
Christine Porter – Northwestern Section
William “AL” Parris – Southern Section
Doug Geralde – Canadian Section
Dave Clements – CEO/Executive Director
Keith Lofland – Staff Liaison