NASCAR racing is all about tradition, hard work, healthy competition and ultimately, winners; and for the Independent Electrical Contractors Florida (IEC), these values are just as important. The Independent Electrical Contractors National Association and its IEC Florida West Coast Chapter were built on the merit-shop tradition and philosophy that hard work combined with healthy competition between contractors produces winners. Like a NASCAR driver who works their way up from racing at their local tracks to racing under the lights of Daytona, the prospective electrician‘s journey mirrors the same work-based philosophy. Those who begin as apprentices in the IEC work their way up to journeyman electricians and business owners whose companies may, one day, service those lights at Daytona.

The electrical industry is eagerly looking for new electricians and IEC is using its tool,, to help introduce the industry to the next generation of electricians and electrical contractors. The electrical apprentice programs offer an entrance to an essential career opportunity to those who love hands-on-training and are interested in starting a high-wage career while incurring no college debt.

For too long, high school students have been told that college was the best, if not only, post high school route to success. But if NASCAR teaches us anything, it is that there is more than one way to the checkered flag. Just like every NASCAR team has different pit strategies, car setups, race plans and ways to win, IEC believes there are many strategies, setups and plans for our students to win in life too. IEC is an advocate of presenting all career options equally to students, parents, school leaders, and governing officials.

While many college students will go to school for four or more years with hopes of finding a well-paying job all while strapped with insurmountable college debt, the IEC program provides just the opposite. Apprentices work and are paid full-time while they go to school. The IEC‘s state and nationally approved, registered apprentice program is a four-year education that leads to a Journeyman‘s Electrician License and up to 42 college credits through the American College of Education, state colleges, and technical colleges across Florida and throughout the US.

IEC Florida West Coast serves students from the Panhandle to Jacksonville and down through Pinellas County with in person classes at Tallahassee Community College, Hillsborough Community College, Pinellas Technical College, Traviss Technical College in Polk County, Marchman Technical College in Pasco County and at the IEC site in Jacksonville with MetroPower. IEC Florida West Coast also offers an online apprentice program for those who can‘t make it to one of the in-person campuses.

Living in a time of overemphasis on the “college for everyone,” mentality of the past few decades, Florida and our nation have realized that we need to focus on rebuilding the skilled trades workforce through recruitment, training, and education. IEC is excited to offer a solution to these issues through our sponsorship with the No. 66 car and; and hope to inspire a new group of apprentices to become a part of a 60-year-old merit-based program that produces world-class, essential electricians.

IEC Florida West Coast‘s Executive Director, Natasha Sherwood, believes it is time to change the narrative about what students can do after high school. Instead of the question, “What college are you looking at?” She suggests we ask, “What career are you looking to enter and how can I help you get there?”.

Daytona has arguably one of the most storied traditions in NASCAR. It is often viewed as the most prestigious race on the NASCAR calendar, carrying by far the largest purse. When JJ Yeley and MBM Motorsports take to the track in Daytona this weekend, they will be doing much more than trying to win one of the most prestigious races in NASCAR. On Saturday, August 26th, the No. 66 car will be helping create a new kind of tradition. It will be helping raise awareness while trying to change the narrative and public opinion of apprenticeships and the skilled trade and electrical industry. It will encourage both high school students and those who are unemployed or under-employed across the country to view apprenticeship as a viable option for their future success. No. 66 driver Yeley states, “I‘m super excited to drive the IEC car this weekend because of what it stands for and the mission behind it”.

So, when you see the electric blue and neon green “” No. 66 car racing down the speedway, know you are rooting for more than a win at Daytona. You‘re rooting for all high school students to have more post-grad options than the traditional college path. Catch all the action this Friday at Daytona with the NASCAR Xfinity Series Wawa 250 starting at 7:30 PM on USA.

— MBM Motorsports —

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