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PHOTO: Union ironworkers acquire skills from extensive training for fast, safe and cost-effective production for contractors
Continuous training makes Union ironworkers the trusted source for quality architectural and ornamental work
AUSTIN, TEXAS -
October 24, 2011 - The Iron Workers International Union (www.ironworkers.org), teaming with the Ironworker Management Progressive Action Cooperative Trust (IMPACT), released a series of new architectural and ornamental training modules designed to replicate real-world assembly and installation challenges ironworkers face on jobsites. Currently, IMPACT Region VI has four new architectural and ornamental mockups in use at training locations in Houston, Arlington, San Antonio and Oklahoma City, one of which will be moved to the New Orleans training facility at the end of October.
Each 9' x 9' module arrived in a wooden crate and contains five window frames, one door frame, a parts list and a blueprint. During the training sessions, students unpack the pieces and use the blueprint to erect the windows and doorframe inside a steel structure.
"Our new mockup materials provide resources to make sure our ironworkers are the safest and most effective ironworkers out there," said Eric Dean, General Secretary of the International Ironworkers Union. "These hands-on models help illustrate challenges and nuances of architectural and ornamental ironworking that are often difficult to convey on paper."
The new architectural and ornamental modules will be in use periodically during training sessions that began in September and will run through May 2012. Every year, over 200 hours of training is conducted in each apprenticeship program. Each training program also includes journeymen upgrading classes.
Training on the new modules prepares Union ironworkers for real jobsites, according to Greg Schulze, Apprenticeship and Training Coordinator for the Iron Workers Union in Texas.
"The classrooms are a non-stressful environment where the students can learn the correct way to do the work and build confidence in their abilities," Schulze said. "Having the ironworkers properly trained makes them more efficient and cost effective for the contractor. I hear from the contractors that the training is working because of all the qualified help they're getting in the field."
Permasteelisa North America (www.permasteelisagroup.com) is a leading, worldwide contractor that partnered solely with Union ironworkers on one of their largest jobs to-date, the Devon Energy Corporation building. The Devon Tower, currently under construction, will impressively be the tallest building in the state of Oklahoma.
"Anyone familiar with this business knows that the avenue to success is to employ Union ironworkers," says James Jutson, Field Operations Manager for Permasteelisa North America. "They are qualified to start work the moment they enter the site. They provide a trained workforce schooled in the techniques of rigging, welding and safety." Regarding the ornamental and architectural aspects of iron working, Jutson went on to say, "It is extremely important that they understand that every piece of material is a finished product and cannot be treated like a piece of raw steel."
General Secretary Dean says he's pleased that they are already getting such a positive response to their "game-changing style of Ironworker education and training." Especially in Texas and the Mid-South States, journeymen at local unions are well on their way to experimenting with new techniques from the ironworkers training & education programs.
The Iron Workers Union listens carefully to its contractors and adapts its training programs to meet real-world needs on jobsites. "Several times a year we meet with the contractors to get feedback about our ironworkers in the field," said Randy Palumbo, Apprenticeship and Training Coordinator for Iron Workers Local 48 in Oklahoma City, (www.ironworkers48.org). "They tell us what they would like taught more in our classes, or taught less, and we build our programs accordingly."
Palumbo believes investments in training programs made by the Iron Workers Union, Signatory Contractors and IMPACT result in reduced costs & high-quality construction for contractors who employ Union ironworkers.
The Iron Workers Union holds a week-long Instructor Training Program every summer to update their instructors with the latest training and installation techniques. Ornamental and architectural classes have been part of this annual program since its inception 27 years ago. The annual instructor training is held in Ann Arbor, Michigan in mid-July.
Ornamental work entails installation of curtain wall and window wall systems that sheath buildings, exteriors of high-rise structures, interior finished elements, and exterior and interior surface systems.
Architectural and structural training programs help ironworkers learn to erect the complex steel structures that shape large-scale industrial, commercial and residential buildings and structures, and install pre-cast columns and panels.
About the Iron Workers Union
The Iron Workers District Council of Texas and Mid-South States represents some 5,000 skilled union ironworkers who make up the area covered by IMPACT Region VI. These men and women help form the backbone of what the Iron Workers Union, its Signatory Contractor Associations, and IMPACT are doing to reinforce the construction industry's future. To learn more, visit www.ironworkerstxmidsouth.com.
IMPACT (www.impact-net.org) serves to unite union ironworkers and signatory contractors in partnerships to develop jobs in the United States and Canada. IMPACT programs help foster workplace excellence through customized project tracking, management training, and safety insurance. IMPACT is a joint labor-management, non-profit trust formed under Section 302(c) (9) of Labor-Management Relations (Taft-Hartley) Act.
Marvin L. Ragsdale, President
Iron Workers District Council of Texas and the Mid-South States
Labor Co-Chair, IMPACT Region VI
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