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Student Engagement is Critical to Student Chapter Success
As of June 23, 2018

Published on: 
March 19, 2014

ELECTRI International commissioned a study to help define activities and resources critical to starting, operating, and assuring continuity of activities for NECA student chapters. Equally important, ELECTRI wanted to discover how best to promote year-round student engagement with tasks related to the electrical contracting business.

Promoting Careers in the Electrical Contracting Business through Student Chapter Engagement and Research on Energy Efficient Projects Thais D. Alves, Ph.D., San Diego State University, prepared a report that would lead to optimal interaction with of NECA Student Chapters by

  • helping students prepare for the Green Energy Challenge Competition and
  • providing a detailed list of hands-on research projects on energy efficiency in buildings and infra-structure that faculty can tie into existing courses, competitions, research labs, work with student chapters in other disciplines, and campus initiatives.

The report begins with a discussion of the ways that chapter activities complement both students’ academic progress and the development of important skills potentially desired by electrical contracting businesses. Student members provided valuable feedback for the study on the structure, support, and current functioning of the NECA student chapters. The report includes their suggestions of potential research projects that could be developed by students under the supervision of chapter advisors and industry members. Professor Alves presents examples of research developed by undergraduate and graduate students involved in this project. Their work focused mainly on energy efficiency in buildings and the use Lean principles to deliver energy efficient projects.

Most NECA Student Chapters report that they enjoy good support from their local NECA chapter sponsor, faculty advisors, and NECA National. Opportunities mentioned that would help improve the student chapters include leveraging current activities already identified by students as important (e.g., networking, preparing business proposals and presentations, training) and starting/promoting new initiatives such as job shadowing and internships.

The research ends with a summary of findings and recommendations that include a discussion of

  • ways to improve student chapter activities
  • networking as important activity valued by students,
  • student concerns about recruitment

improving communication at the student chapter level so that students learn more about local and national resources available to them.

Wanessa Alves, NECA's Director of Student Chapter Relations, noted, "The NECA Student Chapters program is vital to the future of our industry. Students learn best through hands-on projects. Their direct involvement with our members gives them the opportunity to learn what it is like to work for a NECA electrical contractor. The program would not work without our chapters' and members' support and involvement. Our way of measuring its success is through placement and tracking students who are now working for NECA member companies."

The complete report, Promoting Careers in the Electrical Contracting Business through Student Chapter Engagement and Research on Energy Efficient Projects is available from ELECTRI International at