For over the past century, NECA/IBEW Local 48’s electricians have helped build Oregon and southwest Washington. NECA and IBEW Local 48 have partnered in labor-management relations to lead the region’s electrical industry, working on such high profile projects as the Rose Garden Arena, Portland International Airport and MAX Light Rail stations.

NECA, Oregon-Columbia Chapter


The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) is an organization working specifically for the betterment of electrical contractors and the electrical industry. Founded nationally in 1901 to provide a formal organization and education for the new electrical trades, it now has 118 national chapters and foreign affiliates, with more than 4,000 electrical contractor company members.

Activities & Programs

Through the Management Education Institute NECA offers continuing education to its members in the form of frequent workshops and seminars and through publications and code updates to keep contractors current on industry developments. The association also partners with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) to negotiate labor agreements and co-sponsor the award-winning National Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (NJATC) apprenticeship program, training more than 50,000 electricians nationally every year.


Locally the Oregon-Columbia Chapter of NECA represents professional electrical contractors in the Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington areas. The local electrical industry essentially began with construction of the Willamette Falls generating facility in 1889. The first electrical contractors association in the region was formed in 1911, evolving over the years to officially affiliate with NECA in 1943.

Today more than 150 union electrical contractors in the Portland metro area, Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington utilize NECA’s services to stay competitive and informed. In addition to traditional residential and commercial wiring applications, today’s NECA contractors also work on highly complex and diverse projects. These include the Rose Garden Arena, West Side MAX Light Rail stations, Portland International Airport, and intricate high-tech projects like the specialty computer installation for Portland’s Brewery Blocks and electrical systems for computer chip manufacturing facilities.



The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) was founded in 1891 to change the harsh working conditions experienced by America’s first electrical wiremen and linemen. It was the first union established specifically for electricians. IBEW currently has 1,100 local unions throughout the United States and Canada representing more than 750,000 member electricians. IBEW is the largest electrical union in the world.


IBEW’s original purpose was to give electrical workers a voice in their industry through bargaining representation. Organizers worked toward setting employment standards in training, safety and ensuring wage/hour codes. Today, the union continues to achieve these goals on several fronts by implementing extensive training programs, working with contractors to resolve labor agreements, and informing its members of electrical industry developments.

Locally, IBEW Local 48 was organized in 1913 to serve the needs of the region’s growing electrical industry. It was created through the merger of Local 317 (chartered in 1904) and Local 480 (chartered in 1912). Initially, electricians linked businesses and private homes with electricity from the Willamette Falls AC generation plant, the first long-distance power distribution facility in the country. Today, the 4,500 IBEW electricians of Local 48 work on highly complex and diverse projects. These include the Rose Garden Arena, West Side MAX Light Rail stations, Portland International Airport, and intricate high-tech projects like the specialty computer installation for Portland’s Brewery Blocks and the construction of computer chip manufacturing facilities. IBEW Local 48 recently signed contracts with Bonneville Dam and The Dalles Dam to rewind their generators. In addition, IBEW Local 48 members do large panel fabrication at Siemen’s Energy & Automation and the GE Service Shop.


To provide the technical expertise needed for today’s complex electrical work, IBEW Local 48, through its 5-year apprenticeship program, conducts the most comprehensive electrical education and safety training available. The Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (JATC) was formed by the partnership between IBEW and the National
Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) to train and certify the most qualified electricians in the industry.


IBEW Local 48 partners with the Oregon-Columbia chapter of NECA to fund and manage the NECA/IBEW Apprenticeship Programs and the state-of-the-art Electrical Training Center, safety programs, the “Drug-Free Workplace Program,” and healthcare and pension programs. IBEW locals across the country emulate this region’s highly successful partnership.


Local 48 is recognized each year by national executives for its excellence in productivity and management relations. From safe wiring for private family homes to large-scale high-tech projects, their electricians provide the highest quality of workmanship in the most cost effective and safe manner possible. Portland’s IBEW Local 48 electricians set the standard for the electrical industry.


The Advantage

Through progressive partnering, the Oregon-Columbia Chapter of NECA and IBEW Local 48 has developed the foremost electrical apprenticeship program in the country. Our nationally acclaimed Apprenticeship Training Program provides the most skilled and productive electrical workers in the industry and is emulated by chapters and locals across the country. Our training program is a cooperative effort funded through our Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee – not taxpayer dollars. This private effort allows us to maintain and develop a skilled, qualified workforce for today and for the future.

To accomplish this we implement intensive training and continuing education programs. Our unmatched preparation for both electricians and contractors guarantees consumer protection in the form of the most up-to-date, high quality, safe and cost-effective services.

The Facilities

As part of our efforts to continually improve our training programs, NECA and IBEW Local 48 recently built a new 54,000 square foot state-of-the-art training center at 16021 NE Airport Way in Portland. The NECA/IBEW Electrical Training Center is staffed by over 50 expert instructors, each with years of hands-on experience, and is equipped with the latest technology to provide expanded opportunity for hands-on technical training. The center has 24 new classrooms, three labs, study areas, and an auditorium-all designed to better serve our growing number of apprentices and ensure that the skills of our Journeymen remain up-to-date.

For more information on the NECA/IBEW Electrical Training Center, please visit their web site at www.nietc.org.