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Powering Chicago – Crain’s Chicago Business

WHO WE ARE

Bringing together the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 134 electricians and the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) of the City of Chicago, Powering Chicago is an electrical industry labor-management partnership (LMCC) that invests in consistently better construction, better careers and better communities within the metro Chicago region. Employing the latest technology, our members are elevating industry performance through their commitment to safety, level of experience and reliability, while also investing in the future of skilled labor through an innovative, five-year apprenticeship program.

STUFF WE MAKE/DO

Our members are responsible for lighting up your favorite Chicagoland buildings. 

TOP CLIENTS

Powering Chicago works with more than 600 licensed electrical contractors and 12,500 IBEW Local 134 journeypersons and apprentices in Chicago and suburban Cook County.

CAREER OPPORTUNITIES

Becoming an IBEW 134 electrician takes hard work and advanced training through a five-year apprenticeship program that PAYS YOU to learn the skills necessary to become a union electrician. You’ll complete a five-year apprenticeship program and graduate with no student debt while receiving the training and qualifications to be a union electrician.

After that, with knowledge of the electrical industry, career opportunities are endless through IBEW Local 134 and the 600-plus electrical contractors we represent. Anything from journeyperson electrician to project manager, electrical estimator or CAD/BIM designer is at your fingertips through a career in the electrical industry. Many IBEW 134 electricians advance to become a foreman or general foreman and run the job site for the contractor they’re working for.

Whether you want to work in an office with a union electrical contractor, or you want to work in the field with your hands, there’s a successful career path waiting for you through Powering Chicago.

FUN STUFF

We offer tons of opportunities to give back to our community through charitable work that really makes you feel a part of the greater Chicagoland.

EMPLOYEE PROFILES

Elbert Walters III 

Elbert Walters III

Executive Director, Powering Chicago / 22 years in the industry

JOB DUTIES

I’m a former business representative for IBEW Local 134 and longtime member of the union, and now serve as executive director for Powering Chicago, leading the organization’s 100-plus philanthropic and community impact initiatives each year and playing a key role in its daily operations. I have a deep understanding of the unionized electrical industry’s commitment to better construction, better careers and better communities.  

WHAT DOES THIS JOB AND WORKING AT THIS COMPANY MEAN TO YOU?

It’s an honor to work for Powering Chicago to advance key priorities of the unionized electrical industry of Cook County and lead efforts from our industry to give back to hundreds of noble charities throughout the Chicagoland region.

THE JOB: EDUCATION AND TRAINING

REQUIREMENTS

I’m able to succeed in this position because of my previous experience as a Local 134 electrician and business agent. With a deep knowledge and understanding of the unionized electrical industry, I’m able to effectively communicate with the Local 134 and Electrical Contractors’ Association membership.

SKILLS

Communication skills are a must, as I’m constantly meeting with potential customers and discussing the benefits of union electrical work. It’s also important to be organized and efficient in the work I’m doing.

Beatrice J. Thompson

Beatrice J. Thompson

Business Representative, IBEW Local Union 134 / 31.5 years at the Union

JOB DUTIES

As a business representative, I represent the 1,100-plus apprentices that are members of our union. In the event of an apprentice having an issue or problem on a job site or at the NECA-IBEW training center, I’m likely the agent that will represent the apprentice to ensure they’re treated fairly.   

  

WHAT DOES THIS JOB AND WORKING AT THIS COMPANY MEAN TO YOU?

When I began work as an apprentice electrician, I saw it as a means of earning a decent living. As my career blossomed, I started to understand the magnitude of the golden opportunity at hand. I’m constantly learning and this year, I was appointed to my current position as a business representative for IBEW Local 134. As the first African American female to receive such an appointment in our union, I feel a sense of responsibility with the rare opportunity. It’s my duty to be fully dedicated to this work so I can hold the door open for the next generations of electricians, especially women.

THE JOB: EDUCATION AND TRAINING

REQUIREMENTS

Member of IBEW Local 134 in good standing.

SKILLS

I served a five-year apprenticeship through IBEW Local 134, have 30-plus years hands-on experience in electrical work, and continue my education at the NECA-IBEW taking journeyperson night courses.


For more information, contact Steve Doty, director of communications | 708-531-0022

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