When the Student Union of San Jose State University began to build it’s multi-use arena in the early ’90s, they knew they wanted to book major-name acts. The new Event Center would seat over 7,000, and have the power, and facilities to promote major acts and act as a rental facility for other major promoters. Being in the heart of Silicon Valley, where many new start-ups become major corporations, the facility would also be used for corporate events.
San Jose State already had established an excellent technical reputation for it’s theatre crafts students, but there was a lack of real-world experience. Local 134 had many SJSU graduates in it’s ranks and there were talks of the IA providing mentors or classes for the students, but little came of it.
The turning point came when the Local’s business agent of the time, Mr. Howard Campbell, approached the manager of the new Event Center, Mr. Ted Cady, about providing experienced labor for the events. The two worked out a plan where the IA would provide labor after a basic charge of students were employed. The students would be able to work hand-in-hand alongside IA labor, be available as additional labor for the IA in other venues, be able to attend IA sponsored classes and seminars, and have their hours spent with the IA crews be credited towards their own regular IA membership. It was a win-win situation for the IA and the Event Center and it was a major boon to the students.
In the 10+ years the plan has been it place, both the IA and SJSU consider it a major success. We, the IA, have the honor of technical, University trained members in our ranks. A must for a Local doing very state-of-the-art, high-tech corporate events. We wish we could see more similar co-operations throughout the country. The Business Agent, the President, or the Webmaster of Local 134, or the Technical Services Manager for the Event Center would be glad to answer any questions or help set up any similar program.
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