Industrial Beehive

700+ ironworkers use college’s top-notch facilities during international training

welding2For the sixth year, The International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Instructor Training program held its Instructor Training program on WCC’s campus.

This year’s program, which ran from July 13 through 17, brought together more than 700 ironworkers with industrially diverse backgrounds from across the United States and Canada to train their peers on the latest skill sets to meet the demands of today’s construction industry.

“WCC’s state-of-the-art facilities provide the equipment and hands-on experience our instructors need in this unique training program,” said Ironworkers International Executive Director of Apprenticeship and Training Lee Worley.

A five-year contract extension was signed in March between WCC and the Iron Workers Union. The renowned program generates more than $3 million in economic impact in Washtenaw County.

“An ironworker’s expertise can be seen in every building, bridge, and highway across the country,” said Ironworkers International General Organizer Ed Abbott.

“This expertise requires specialized skills that must continuously be refined and updated,” Abbott continued. “Our program educates hundreds of ironworker instructors each year, who return to their local unions to teach other ironworkers.”

The Instructor Training program covers jobs involving welding, structural steel erection, architectural and ornamental ironwork, concrete reinforcement, rigging and machinery moving and installation – as well as blueprint reading and computer skills for an ever-changing job market.

“As the skilled trades gap continues to widen, the Iron Workers Instructor Training program is more vital than ever,” said WCC President Dr. Rose B. Bellanca. “It’s time to begin to close this gap, which impedes a thriving global marketplace.”

The Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau provided hospitality services and events for the attendees.

“We were excited to welcome the hundreds of staff, instructors and skilled tradespeople to the greater Ann Arbor area,” said Mary Kerr, Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO.welding3