Lee Worley and Dr. Rose Bellanca sign the contract extension

Lee Worley and Dr. Rose Bellanca sign the contract extension

The college’s state-of-the-art facilities, strong leadership and understanding of the importance of training for the future were reasons the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers union signed a five-year contract extension on March 18 to continue the union’s renowned Instructor Training Program (ITP) on the Washtenaw Community College campus.

WCC President, Dr. Rose B. Bellanca and Executive Director of Apprenticeship and Training, Iron Workers International, Lee Worley, signed the contract extension during a ceremony attended by business and community leaders, government officials, union members and WCC Board of Trustees, faculty and staff.

“We are very impressed with the college’s advanced and high-tech facilities and appreciate the accommodating way we are treated here at the college and in the community,” said Worley. “Our partnership will ensure that our instructors stay on top of industry trends and provide pathways to good jobs and careers as iron workers.”

The ITP program trains for proficiency in jobs involving welding, structural steel erection, architectural and ornamental iron work, concrete reinforcement, rigging and machinery moving and installation as well as blueprint reading and computer programs.

Shared goal for a lifetime of learning

During the ceremony, Dr. Bellanca commented on the sophistication of the instructor training program and noted that both the college and the iron workers have a shared goal of a commitment to a lifetime of learning.

“Just as teaching is at the heart of our college, I know it is also at the heart of the union’s mission to assure its workers have the highest caliber of skill and safety training. Our partnership is so successful because we both hold a commitment to the importance of lifelong learning.”

The program is also an annual boon to the Washtenaw County economy. The Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau provides hospitality services and events for the attendees during their stay in Ann Arbor.

“A conservative economic impact assessment of the Iron Workers Instructor Training Program is $3 million in new spending annually,” said Mary Kerr, president and CEO of the Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“The whole community benefits from the investment and time the instructors spend in the area,” Kerr continued. “They come back to our community because they know they are appreciated and embraced. We are thrilled to welcome them back to Washtenaw County for five more years.”