Insulators attend inaugural NABTU Apprenticeship Conference
The concept of ‘we work better together than we do apart’ was the overarching theme of the first annual North
America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) Apprenticeship Training Conference.
More than 100 Apprenticeship Training Directors and key leaders from all the NABTU unions gathered in early October at Washtenaw Community College in Michigan for this inaugural event to discuss how everyone can develop and contribute additional ways to grow the apprenticeship workforce. Due to limited space, each NABTU union was asked to send 10 directors for this first time event.
The Insulators had 11 training directors from Locals across the U.S. and Canada. The three-day program began with Chris Haslinger, Director of Training for the United Association Union of Plumbers, Fitters, Welders and Service Technicians and Chairman for the NABTU Standing Committee on Apprenticeship and Training, addressing the group.
“The goal of this conference is to work with everyone, now and in the future, in the North American Building and Construction Trade Unions, to enrich our apprenticeship programs,” Haslinger said.
Brent Booker, Secretary-Treasurer of NABTU, urged the audience to collaborate so all the construction trades
can benefit. “The NABTU and everyone in this room has a commitment to apprenticeship and training,” Booker said. “We are all a little bit better if we can learn from each other.”
The conference proceeded to cover topics from the rising need for quality apprenticeship programs and recent national programs to apprenticeship recruitment and retention and steps to better incorporate online learning tools.
Doug Steinmetzer, Training Director from Insulators Local 7 in Seattle shared information about successful efforts to expand apprentice classes. Local 7 has doubled their total number of apprentices in just six months, from the spring of 2016 to the fall of 2016. These efforts are how the Mechanical Insulators will continue to grow and bolster the union’s workforce.
Brian Cavey, Training Director from Insulators Local 24 in Baltimore/Washington, spoke during the event about how to encourage members to sign up for area workforce boards. He highlighted how the Insulators in his Local
are able to serve on the various boards around his jurisdiction to monitor the enforcement of the Workforce
Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). WIOA was signed by President Obama in 2014.
“You’ll pick up something at this conference, its key that you pass it along,” stressed Lee Worley, Executive
Director of Apprenticeship and Training for the International Association of Iron Workers. “Learn something and share it.”
The conference marked a milestone for apprentice programs, due to the attendance of many professionals,
organizations and companies, as well as the vast number of trades’ members with working knowledge of apprenticeship programs. Sharing this information is something that will continue to help the Insulators and all members of the NABTU grow their memberships.
Besides Steinmetzer and Cavey, the Insulators training directors that attended included: Terry Walsh, Local 1 St. Louis; John Stahl, Local 14 Philadelphia; Bill Hodges, Local 16 San Francisco; Bob McGuckin, Local 17 Chicago; Deshawn Gaines, Local 25 Detroit; Eric Houske, Local 34 Minneapolis; Ron Eades, Local 37 Evansville; Gavin Dailey, Local 45 Toledo; and Adam Melnick, Local 95 Toronto.