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Elevator Industry Leaders Expand Presence at SkillsUSA TECHSPO in Atlanta

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TOPEKA, KS, June 19, 2024 – National Elevator Industry, Inc. (NEII), the premier national trade association providing advocacy, codes, safety expertise, and industry research for the elevator and escalator industry, in partnership with the National Elevator Industry Educational Program (NEIEP), will be returning to the SkillsUSA TECHSPO Trade Show June 24-28, 2024, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.


Last year was the first year the elevator industry leaders co-sponsored a booth at SkillsUSA TECHSPO where hands-on simulations helped students visualize a day on the job as an elevator and escalator technician. After a highly successful experience that included significant student interest and activity, NEII and NEIEP have quadrupled its booth space to provide attendees with a comprehensive overview of the various roles attendees can play in the future of the vertical transportation industry. And this year, the Elevator Industry Work Preservation Fund (EIWPF) will support the industry’s efforts as well.


“We are thrilled to be returning to SkillsUSA TECHSPO after our debut last year that exceeded our high expectations. Students eagerly stopped by the booth to learn everything they could about pursuing a career in the elevator industry, and their interest couldn’t come at a better time,” said Amy Blankenbiller, Executive Director of NEII. “SkillsUSA and its extensive talent pipeline is a vital solution to the skills gap challenges impacting many industries, including the elevator industry, and we look forward to engaging and educating this next-generation on the bright future of building transportation and the impact they can make.”


NEII and NEIEP will also host a networking breakfast for the teachers and sponsors of the SkillsUSA program nationwide. During this breakfast session, NEIEP and NEII will introduce the teachers/sponsors to the elevator industry and all of the opportunities available to students interested in exploring a financially and fulfilling career path.


The TECHSPO Trade Show, which features more than 200 exhibitors, is part of the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference, which will feature more than 6,500 career and technical education students—all state winners—participating in a variety of trade, technical and leadership competitions.


SkillsUSA is a national organization with chapters in every state serving more than 380,000 middle school, high school, as well as college/postsecondary students interested in pursuing careers in trade, technical, and skilled service occupations. Its vision is to produce the most highly skilled workforce in the world, providing every member the opportunity for career success. SkillsUSA has inspired 14 million students and teachers since its inception in 1965.


“It’s so important that people curious about entering the elevator and escalator industry understand how many trade skills are incorporated into the work of an elevator or escalator technician. With our world class apprentice program, I’m confident anyone with building trade know-how will be successful and can find their place in this innovative industry,” added David Morgan, NEIEP Executive Director.


For more information on the elevator industry, go to neiep.org and neii.org and EIWPF.org.


About NEII

NEII is the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry. Its members install, maintain, and/or manufacture elevators, escalators, moving walks, and other building transportation products. NEII’s membership includes the six major international companies and several other companies across the U.S. Collectively, NEII members represent approximately 85 percent of the total hours worked within the elevator and escalator industry, employ more than 25,000 people in the U.S., and indirectly support hundreds of thousands of American jobs in affiliate industries. More information is available at neii.org. Stay up to date on the latest news in the elevator industry by following NEII on Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

About NEIEP

NEIEP empowers union elevator constructors with the knowledge and skills they need to reach the highest standard of professionalism and safety in the industry. NEIEP’s purpose is to develop, implement, and maintain curriculum for members of the IUEC, offering a network of support throughout members’ careers. This support encompasses apprenticeship training, continuing education, instructor training, labs, and certifications. NEIEP’s core values can be summed up in a handful of words: safety, inclusivity, community, and support. These values guide the program’s commitment to providing the best education and support to the men and women of the IUEC, whether they are in class or on the job. Visit neiep.org for more information.


About EIWPF

EIWPF is an industry-wide labor management cooperation committee. There are over 600 employers in the elevator industry across the United States and Canada and over 30,000 organized elevator constructors working for them. The fund was created for the purpose of improving labor-management relationships, competitiveness, productivity, organizational effectiveness, and economic development.


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Lift Off

A new year can mean a new start, depending on how you view the change in calendar year. For me, the new year is time to review and refresh activities in both our personal and professional lives as needed. And after reviewing the NEII blog series, we decided our blog needed a refreshed identity. POINT/BLANK is now the name of my official blog and for those who know me, it fits me perfectly. I tell it like it is. This approach has served me well throughout my career and during my tenure at NEII, even if it hasn’t always been easy to discuss difficult issues.


For the last 100+ years, NEII’s mission has been to promote a high level of safety for passengers and industry professionals; ensure consistent adoption and enforcement of policies, codes and regulations; maximize choice for building transportation systems; drive innovation and performance; and be the trusted resource for industry information.


And while NEII’s work advanced each part of that mission last year, this blog is focused on how we increased our visibility as the trusted resource for industry information. For example, in our 2023 blog series, we shared an inside look at:


In our monthly Elevator World column, we helped contractors, suppliers, architects, and building owners and managers better understand remote interaction operation and cybersecurity, licensing challenges in the Big Apple as well as why SkillsUSA may be the key to unlocking a more diverse talent pipeline.


And we sat down with a few of the leading building media brands, including FacilitiesNet, to discuss how the latest ASME code will impact building operations professionals while also authoring a guest column on elevators in the commercial real estate industry for the Tampa Bay Business Journal.


Being the authoritative voice of the elevator industry and telling the important stories that need to be told is one part of what we do, but it’s the behind-the-scenes work with governing bodies, AHJs and municipalities, unions, associations and member companies that truly sets NEII apart.

In 2023, our mission was clear:


  • Elevate industry safety
  • Drive workforce diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Engage throughout the code lifecycle

Safe working practices remained our top priority and this focus was integrated into all aspects of NEII’s work, including codes, advocacy, communications and DEI initiatives. This included finalizing the next edition of the Field Employee Safety Handbook that is set to be released in Q1 2025 and partnering with the construction industry on hoistway safety. NEII provided more than two dozen public comments and testimony and advanced safety standards through codes to help drive necessary change in the elevator industry. We also further promoted inclusive PPE resources and awarded more than 100 safety ambassador awards to participants who learned key safety tips as part of NEII’s Elevator and Escalator Safety Challenge.


And we didn’t stop there. NEII facilitated company breakout sessions at Tradewomen Build Nations, introduced thousands of trades-focused students to the elevator industry through our joint exhibition with the National Elevator Industry Educational Program (NEIEP) at SkillsUSA Techspo, and once again served as a key industry partner for Construction Inclusion Week.


I’m proud of the impact and progress we made in 2023 but see even bigger things ahead this year as we continue pushing AHJs to eliminate outdated codes and deviations, shift the talent-pipeline development focus while transitioning recruitment outreach to diverse communities, as well as target high-risk areas to drive improvement in safety.


If you have any questions you’d like answered in a future blog, please email info@neii.org.

About NEII

NEII is the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry. Its members install, maintain, and/or manufacture elevators, escalators, moving walks, and other building transportation products. NEII‘s membership includes the six major international companies – Fujitec America, Inc., KONE, Inc., Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc., Otis Elevator Company, Schindler Elevator Corporation, Thyssenkrupp Elevator Company and several other companies across the country. Collectively, the NEII members represent approximately eighty-five percent of the total hours worked within the elevator and escalator industry, employ more than 25,000 people in the U.S. and indirectly support hundreds of thousands of American jobs in affiliate industries. 

For more information about NEII, please visit www.neii.org

NEII and NEIEP Participate in SkillsUSA Techspo

TOPEKA, KS (June 26, 2023) – National Elevator Industry, Inc. (NEII), the premier national trade association providing advocacy, codes, safety expertise, and industry research for the elevator and escalator industry, in partnership with the National Elevator Industry Educational Program (NEIEP), participated in the SkillsUSA Techspo Trade Show, which was held June 20-22, 2023, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.


The elevator industry leaders co-sponsored a booth with hands-on simulations to help students visualize a day on the job as an elevator and escalator technician. Several mechanics from NEII member companies were onsite to speak with students about their career paths and the rewarding work the industry provides. There was also an opportunity for students to take an elevator selfie for a chance to win a variety of prizes, including an iPad Pro.


“NEII is thrilled to join together with NEIEP and embark on this partnership with SkillsUSA. Together, we hope to connect with individuals interested in the trades and develop an expanded pipeline of talent for this incredible industry,” said Amy Blankenbiller, Executive Director of NEII.


The Techspo Trade Show is part of the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference, which features more than 6,500 career and technical education students—all state winners—who participate in a variety of trade, technical and leadership competitions. This was the first time the elevator industry has participated in this event.


SkillsUSA is a national organization with chapters in every state, serving more than 300,000 middle school, high school, as well as college/postsecondary students interested in pursuing careers in trade, technical, and skilled service occupations. According to SkillsUSA, 49.6% of their students are from historically underrepresented groups by race and ethnicity, and 38% identify as female. The elevator industry has made tremendous strides in recent years improving diversity and inclusion in the financially lucrative elevator industry. 


“As an industry, we want to ensure a workforce that is diverse and inclusive. Partnering with a national network like SkillsUSA is a great opportunity to reach a workforce more indicative of the International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) and brings a special talent to the elevator industry,” added David Morgan, NEIEP Executive Director.


For more information on the elevator industry, go to neiep.org and neii.org.

About NEII

NEII is the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry. Its members install, maintain, and/or manufacture elevators, escalators, moving walks, and other building transportation products. NEII’s membership includes the six major international companies and several other companies across the U.S. Collectively, NEII members represent approximately 85 percent of the total hours worked within the elevator and escalator industry, employ more than 25,000 people in the U.S. and indirectly support hundreds of thousands of American jobs in affiliate industries. More information is available at neii.org. Stay up to date on the latest news in the elevator industry by following NEII on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About NEIEP

NEIEP empowers union elevator constructors with the knowledge and skills they need to reach the highest standard of professionalism and safety in the industry. NEIEP’s purpose is to develop, implement, and maintain curriculum for members of the IUEC, offering a network of support throughout members’ careers. This support encompasses apprenticeship training, continuing education, instructor training, labs, and certifications. NEIEP’s core values can be summed up in a handful of words: safety, inclusivity, community, and support. These values guide the program’s commitment to providing the best education and support to the men and women of the IUEC, whether they are in class or on the job. Visit neiep.org for more information.  


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DEI Hard

Working to advance DEI efforts within the building transportation industry


By Amy Blankenbiller, Executive Director, National Elevator Industry, Inc.

According to a recent article on CNBC, for the first time since 2017, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) progress in the workplace stalled in 2022. I am happy to report that for the elevator industry, however, 2022 was a year of DEI promise.


DEI has been a NEII priority for several years. It was clear that diversity within the building trades needed to improve and that progress could be made to ensure that all workers are treated fairly and feel like they belong. But where to start? And where could NEII add the most value to help move industry DEI efforts forward? We had a lot of ideas, but we also had a lot to learn.


As we worked to gather information, formulate a strategy, and build a foundation, NEII focused its early efforts on increasing awareness about our industry and supplementing the promotion of open recruitments. We developed a flier in partnership with the National Elevator Industry Education Program (NEIEP), the International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC), the Elevator Industry Work Preservation Fund (EIWPF) to help drive interested parties to NEIEP’s website where they could learn more about working in the building transportation industry and how to apply. NEII has been reaching out to organizations representing diverse populations within close geographical location to one of the industry’s open recruitments since 2020, but it was during 2022 that emailed the 100th organization, and we didn’t stop there.


2022 was a year where we saw advancements on other industry DEI efforts as well. Here are a few highlights:

  • NEII had learned that many women in the field – and even some men – were provided personal protective equipment (PPE) that did not fit their body size or shape. After confirming that all NEII’s Board member companies were offering inclusive PPE, we issued an industry challenge in August 2022 as NEII’s first public DEI initiative. The PPE Challenge encourages all vertical transportation companies to provide size- and gender-inclusive equipment and uniforms so all technicians can be safe and comfortable while working in the field.
  • In October, NEII and its member companies participated in Construction Inclusion Week (CIW) – an initiative meant to build awareness of the need to improve diversity and inclusion in the construction industry by providing content and resources and fostering conversations that create alignment in the industry. NEII had amplified CIW messaging previously but developed industry-specific tools, coordinated a social media initiative and supported other industry engagement in 2022.
  • NEII also attended the 2022 Tradeswomen Build Nations Conference (TWBN) in late October. This annual event brings together women from all the building trades. NEII’s team was able to attend valuable education sessions and meet female technicians from across the U.S. and Canada, many of whom shared candidly about their experiences on jobsites at all levels of their careers. NEII’s participation at TWBN also helped us convey the support of NEII’s member companies to DEI and this event, as well as develop relationships with industry partners.
  • NEII attended the SkillsUSA 2022 Leadership & Skills Conference and began discussions about a potential partnership with the organization. SkillsUSA is national organization with chapters in every state and more than 300,000 student participants nationwide – a majority of whom are from underrepresented populations. It provides a network to increase awareness about working in the building transportation industry and a pipeline of young people already interested in working in the trades.

In my recent article in Elevator World, I shared why DEI should be a priority for all elevator companies, including the extensive benefits you get from having a diverse workforce. I included a simple three-step process elevator companies can follow to get started incorporating DEI into their culture, and suggested partner organizations that can help elevator companies develop a diverse pipeline of talent.


Since joining NEII in 2010, I have learned many things, perhaps none more important than this: the building transportation industry is special. And the heart of this industry is the people. We now need to make sure that all people have the opportunity to join this amazing industry, are welcomed and treated fairly. I am proud of the strides made in recent years, but there is still a lot of real work that needs to be done.


So what does the future hold for DEI in the elevator industry? NEII will continue to build on the work we’ve done so far and the real promise that began to emerge in 2022 on the efforts I’ve discussed today and others. What will you do – provide inclusive PPE? Promote the industry and open recruitments to a broader universe? Help a new worker feel welcome on the jobsite? Or will you identify something different and reach out to NEII to partner with you? I look forward to hearing from you on how we can advance DEI in our industry.

About NEII

NEII is the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry. Its members install, maintain, and/or manufacture elevators, escalators, moving walks, and other building transportation products. NEII‘s membership includes the six major international companies – Fujitec America, Inc., KONE, Inc., Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc., Otis Elevator Company, Schindler Elevator Corporation, TK Elevator Company and several other companies across the country. Collectively, the NEII members represent approximately eighty-five percent of the total hours worked within the elevator and escalator industry, employ more than 25,000 people in the U.S. and indirectly support hundreds of thousands of American jobs in affiliate industries. 

For more information about NEII, please visit www.neii.org.

Girl Power

From the halls of our nation's capital to the elevator industry, how I went from surviving to thriving in a male-dominated world.


By Amy J. Blankenbiller, Executive Director, National Elevator Industry, Inc.


When most children grow up, they want to be like their parents. That was certainly the case for my sisters, who went on to become a teacher and architect like my mom and dad. But not me. I wanted to be like… my neighbor. She was a judge and had been one of only a few women in her law school class. She was also politically connected and was an advocate for various issues. She helped me land my first job in D.C. with Senator Bob Dole and continued to be a sounding board throughout my career (and life).


While living my best D.C. policy life, I worked with another great woman who taught me about the importance of women supporting women. In particular, she stressed how critical it was for more experienced women to help younger women set their professional pathway. And that’s exactly what she did for me. She took me under her wing and was there through thick and thin when I was learning the slippery ropes of D.C. politics.

My DC mentor gave me three pieces of advice that I follow to this day:

  • Are you asking someone to do something you wouldn’t do yourself?
  • Would you be proud enough to tell your mom/dad/family?
  • Would your actions cause you to be brought before a Senate oversight committee?

Beyond her inspirational words, I also admired her inspirational actions. She did not back down when her male counterparts tried to silence or dismiss her input. On the contrary, she stood even taller and spoke with confident authority, something I worked hard to emulate – even when I was incredibly intimidated. But following her lead served me well when I worked for the George H.W. Bush administration and was the point person for the federal government’s efforts related to capping and controlling the Kuwait oil fires. I was 25 years old managing a group of “roughneck” oil men, but it was there where I learned to find my voice.


As I transitioned to working with home builders, the metal casting industry, the Kansas business community and now the elevator industry, I noticed one characteristic that all four of these industries have in common: very few women in the top leadership positions. With each new position and additional responsibilities, I would often get a lot of unsolicited advice about how a professional woman should act, typically from men. While some women may have been offended, I wasn’t. I took the input and factored it into my professional development without letting their words shake my confidence. And in many ways, all of that guidance that I think was often intended to change my manner actually strengthened my resolve about staying true to myself.


And today, on International Women’s Day, it’s now my turn to serve as mentor and impart some sage advice. It is more important than ever for women of the world to lift each other up and help one another overcome obstacles that arise in the pathway toward our goals. Find your voice and do not let anyone shake your confidence. Be relentless in your pursuit of your dreams. And remember that you do not have to climb to the top of the corporate ladder to make a difference; sometimes it is the small things that can help the most. But most importantly, never give up. Fight for those things that are important to you, in all aspects of your life.


We have come a long way, but we have also just begun. Let me know how I can help. 

About NEII

NEII is the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry. Its members install, maintain, and/or manufacture elevators, escalators, moving walks, and other building transportation products. NEII‘s membership includes the six major international companies – Fujitec America, Inc., KONE, Inc., Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc., Otis Elevator Company, Schindler Elevator Corporation, TK Elevator and several other companies across the country. Collectively, the NEII members represent approximately eighty-five percent of the total hours worked within the elevator and escalator industry, employ more than 25,000 people in the U.S. and indirectly support hundreds of thousands of American jobs in affiliate industries. 

For more information about NEII, please visit www.neii.org


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NEII Partners with Construction Inclusion Week

NATIONAL ELEVATOR INDUSTRY, INC. PARTNERS WITH CONSTRUCTION INCLUSION WEEK


In 2022, as a part of our efforts to increase diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) within the building transportation industry, NEII has officially partnered with the organizations who created Construction Inclusion Week. The event is October 17-21. 2022. 


The vertical transportation industry is committed to improving diversity, equity and inclusion throughout our workplaces. 

To further share the scope of the elevator and escalator industry's commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace, below are some valuable resources:


  • Chris Gardner, author of Pursuit of Happyness, and DEI advocate recorded a message for our industry to encourage us to keep working toward improving inclusion. View and download the video message here
  • Construction Inclusion Week has a variety of resources available for every day of the honorary week, including an Execution Guide for planning your participation. You can find the guide here
  • The daily themes for Construction Inclusion Week are as follows:
    • Monday, October 17: Commitment and Accountability
    • Tuesday, October 18: Belonging
    • Wednesday, October 19: Supplier Diversity
    • Thursday, October 20: Workplace Culture
    • Friday, October 21: Community Engagement
  • There are daily webinars to dive deeper into the content.
  • Don't miss a thing by visiting the Construction Inclusion Week website for complete details and to register as a partner if you are interested.


We will be sharing a lot of messaging about inclusion on NEII's social media channels, including photos of the teams from our member companies supporting inclusion during Construction Inclusion Week. Please follow us at Twitter and LinkedIn




About Construction Inclusion Week

Construction Inclusion Week is the first effort to harness the collective power of general contractors, specialty contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers. The objective is to build awareness of the need to improve diversity and inclusion in the construction industry by providing content and resources.

We recognize and understand that each of our firms may be at different places in our diversity, equity, and inclusion journeys. The intent is that Construction Inclusion Week fosters conversations that create alignment and take us further on this journey for our people and industry partners. If we genuinely want to attract, retain, and develop the best talent for our industry and maximize the diversity of our suppliers, we must grow our industry’s culture to be truly inclusive.

About NEII

NEII is the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry. Its members install, maintain, and/or manufacture elevators, escalators, moving walks, and other building transportation products. NEII‘s membership includes the six major international companies – Fujitec America, Inc., KONE, Inc., Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc., Otis Elevator Company, Schindler Elevator Corporation, TK Elevator  and several other companies across the country. Collectively, the NEII members represent approximately eighty percent of the total hours worked within the elevator and escalator industry, employ more than 25,000 people in the U.S. and indirectly support hundreds of thousands of American jobs in affiliate industries. 

For more information about NEII, please visit www.neii.org


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Construction Inclusion Week 2021

October 18-22, 2021 marks the inaugural Construction Inclusion Week to identify ways to advance diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in construction. NEII is proud to support the efforts. Below are resources to support Construction Inclusion Week and any other efforts to increase DEI. 

Daily webinars held at 12pm ET throughout Construction Inclusion Week are available here

Toolbox Talks are available here

Learn more about Construction Inclusion Week here.  


DEI and Community Service Resources



About NEII

NEII is the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry. Its members install, maintain, and/or manufacture elevators, escalators, moving walks, and other building transportation products. NEII‘s membership includes the six major international companies – Fujitec America, Inc., KONE, Inc., Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc., Otis Elevator Company, Schindler Elevator Corporation, TK Elevator  and several other companies across the country. Collectively, the NEII members represent approximately eighty-five percent of the total hours worked within the elevator and escalator industry, employ more than 25,000 people in the U.S. and indirectly support hundreds of thousands of American jobs in affiliate industries. 

For more information about NEII, please visit www.neii.org