Local Politics

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VA Governor's Race

Labor’s endorsed candidate for Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, walked the halls of the Manassas JATC training facility, talking with apprentices and seeing vocational career education at its best. Northam agreed that the Commonwealth faces a shortage of skilled tradesmen, and has incorporated a message about vocational education and training into his campaign platform.

Throughout the tour, Business Manager George Hogan and President Tom Myers stressed that Local 26 will support candidates who understand, support and meet the challenge of funding construction projects. Its new jobs that allow the continued training of electricians for the future.


Northam (pictured with Tom Myers), has held the Lieutenant Governor’s office since 2013. He is a pediatric neurosurgeon and Army veteran who has raised over one million dollars for his campaign. Northam has consistently fought for the freedom of working people to negotiate together. His focus has been on good-paying jobs and investing in the future of the Commonwealth. He voted to raise the minimum wage and will defend prevailing wage requirements and project labor agreements.

After a discussion with Northam at the Virginia State Building and Construction Trades Legislative Conference in Richmond earlier this year, he was invited to tour the JATC training facility and see what distinguished a registered apprenticeship from the certificate programs offered at community colleges.

“One of the biggest differences,” explained Hogan, “is that our combination of classroom and on-the-job training is free. Graduates are debt-free, and already working as journeyman electricians with a job that pays good wages and benefits for their family.”

“We pay apprentices to train in our program, and that’s important,” emphasized Myers. “Because unlike community colleges, it doesn’t cost the commonwealth or the student a dime.”

Throughout the tour, Northam answered and asked questions from apprentices. He asked if any students were veterans and if they thought the program at the JATC was preparing them for the real world industry. Again, apprentices expressed the value of on-the-job training. It was agreed that being paid while in the apprenticeship was a tremendous advantage over community college or a technical school.

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