How does the IEC's apprenticeship program work?

How does the IEC's apprenticeship program work?
I went to a local IEC chapter in Rocky Hill, CT, with a whole list of questions.
When I went into their office, the lady saw my list and said "before you start asking your questions, are you an employer?"
I said no. She replied that we only accept people who have been forwarded by employers.
"So you don't take people on an 'off the street' basis?" I replied.
"No."
A little baffled, I left, since I was tired coming off my second job had to return back to work with my first job in about 5 hours.

To get into the IEC's program, you have to locate a local electrical contractor which is affiliated with the IEC association. Next, I guess you ask if
1) They are currently looking for apprentices
2) They would be interested in sponsoring me for the IEC's appenticeship program.
If the answer is yes to both questions, I presume I do the classwork with the IEC and do the required number of hours of fieldwork with the particular sponsor.
Am I correct here, or does it work diiferently from what I have deduced?
Does IEC have its own aptitude test process?
As for the math issue, I am slower with numbers and quantitative concepts, though that does not mean I am incapable with them. I found math to be boring in high school, so I did not put much effort into it.
Now I have a motivation to pay attention and do the best I can with it (Wanna stay at Wal Mart?).
As always, any suugesstions of other apprenticeships, union or non union, are always welcome to aid in my research.
I spoke to a rep from IBEW local 40 in Hartford, and he suggested that folks are trying to avoid working with electrical unions...
Brian Ghilliotti
PS AIT means "advanced individual training".
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

This IEC is a trade association founded (and funded by) to promote and advance the interests of the independent electrical contractor. Consequently, services are available only to member contractors and it is not an organization providing training or other services to the general population--hence, your reception.
Basically, your hypothesis appears to be correct--to be considered a candidate for an IEC program you will _first_ have to be an employee of a member firm or contractor.
D(id)AGS and found the following link to the CT Chapter -- while I didn't pursue it further, looks like there's a list there of area member contractors. First step would appear to be, as you surmised, get yourself hired by one of them.
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dpb wrote:

Sorry, forgot to include the link--
http://www.iecne.org /
I think when I re-read your post your not quite right with the way I understand what I saw--it's more than finding somebody just willing to sponsor an apprentice, it's actually being an employed laborer or other position first and then getting them to sponsor you for the aprenticeship program.
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Think about it. Why do you need the approval of somebody already in the biz (a future competitor) to get in the biz? The chief purpose of this process is to maintain prices by limiting entry to the trade.
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Be careful with the IEC!!! Some say they will re-imburse you for training if you complete it, but will get rid of you before you finnish and you are left paying for it!! If you your employment is terminated you are out of training untill YOU can get another contractor to hire you. The new contractor will not re-imburse you for the training you already did.
With the IBEW, the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committe is your sponsor, if you get laid off you continue to attend school while the JATC finds you another employer.
Checkout these websites for more info.
www.njatc.org www.ibew.org
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