Conference Apprentice Competitions get ready for Houston

The competitors heading to Houston in July for the 2023 Master Apprentice Competition (MAC) are winning their way there by besting fellow apprentices at Conference events around the U.S. and Canada.

Insulation Industry International Apprentice and Training Fund Administrator (IIIATF) John L. Stahl attended most of the Conference Competitions and was impressed with the skills on display and the level of competition he saw.

"After attending many Conference-level apprentice competitions this year, I am excited to see what this group accomplishes in Houston,” Stahl said.

Every year, throughout the Insulators Union, third- to fifth-year apprentices demonstrate the skills they have learned on the job and in area training centers through a  series of friendly competitions.  

For many, it begins at the Local Union level, where a winner is selected to represent their Local at a Conference  Apprentice Competition. There, apprentices compete against other winning apprentices in their Conference.  The winner then earns the right to attend the MAC and represent their Conference. 

Each year, 10 apprentices, one from each conference, will gather to compete to be named the union’s most skilled apprentice. Besides some bragging rights, the winner receives $2,500, an International Union Watch and a scholarship to attend the annual IIIATF Trainer  Enhancement program for the next five years.  

The winner also gets to hoist the Thomas A. Haun  Cup, Insulation Industry International Apprentice and  Training Fund Master Apprentice Competition Award, also known as the “Tommy Cup,” aptly named after retired  IIIATF Administrator Tom Haun.  

Held over several days, the MAC competition includes a written test followed by 22 hours of hands-on fabrication based on “work specs” that are only revealed to the competitors the night before they begin the competition. 

Both components are meant to test the skills and knowledge of the competitors. 

MAC, JAC and LUO, together again

The MAC, Joint Apprenticeship Conference (JAC)  and the Local Union Officers (LUO) meeting will be held simultaneously in 2023 at the Hilton Americas-Houston.  This will be the second time the three events will be together. The first time was in 2019, when top apprentices, training coordinators, instructors and Local Union Officers were together in Phoenix.

The JAC is three days of planned seminars and training carefully curated by the 2023 JATC steering committee.  Happening at the same time as the MAC, the goal of the JAC is to help training coordinators and instructors collaborate on various concepts and ideas, learn new techniques and discuss ways to better train the next generation of union mechanics. 

“There are plenty of planned training and presentations by the JATC Steering Committee that I believe will be highly beneficial for everyone attending the JAC this year,” Stahl said. 

The LUO also consists of three days of training and seminars designed to strengthen the knowledge of Local  Union Officers. The first day of the JAC and LUO includes combined sessions before the two groups break off to focus on more specific sessions.  

Bringing the three events together allows all Local Union leaders, the General Executive Board and leaders from the training side of the Mechanical Insulators Union to collaborate and also witness the amazing skills on display during the apprentice competition.  

Working and learning together strengthens the Insulators Union. The goal is for everyone attending to come away with a deeper understanding of the industry and their roles as Union leaders. 

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