It can be a challenge these days to find electricians with room in their schedules to get a new home wired. Darleene Snider, construction manager for Sisters Habitat for Humanity, was understandably delighted to take up an offer to have a home wired by apprentice and journeyman electricians.
"This is a pilot project for us," she said. "But we're most definitely looking forward to doing this again in the future."
The project was organized by Prineville electrician Brian Samp and sponsored by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) union, local 280. Through the local IBEW training center, it finds apprentices in years 2-5 of their apprenticeships and journeyman electricians willing to mentor them through a residential wiring project. An electrical apprenticeship takes five years, and many work mainly on commercial construction, so it's a win-win for all to have access to a residence.
Becky Conway's home on Desert Rose Loop was the site of the action last Saturday. Thirteen electricians descended on the site and by the end of the snowy day, Snider said the wiring would be 95 percent completed. Normally it takes two to three days of being fitted into a busy electrician's schedule.
Samp organized similar projects with the McMinnville chapter of Habitat for Humanity. "I started doing this in 2008. This is my 15th Habitat house," he said.
When he moved to Central Oregon, he reached out to local chapters and Sisters happily took him up on the offer.
In addition to the sponsorship by IBEW local 280, the electrical equipment for Habitat homes is provided through a gift-in-kind program of Habitat International and Schneider Electric, a global company. An Albany company, Electrical Construction Company (Ecco) also contributed by being the contractor that pulled the permits for the Sisters home. Samp said this company helped Habitat for Humanity in the Willamette Valley and was willing to extend their assistance over the mountains.
Sisters Habitat for Humanity is one of the busiest chapters in Central Oregon, and Snider is more than happy to provide an opportunity for apprentice electricians to ply their trade. There is a desperate shortage in the industry, said Samp, and he encourages those who are interested in earning while they learn to look into an apprenticeship.