Insulators Local 17 JATC graduation rate hits 98 percent

Robert McGuckin, Training Coordinator for  Heat and Frost Insulators Local 17 Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee,  joined America's Work Force Union Podcast and talked about the JATC's impressive 98 percent graduation record among its apprentices, as part of National Apprenticeship Week (which ran from Nov. 14-20).

McGuckin believes the JATC's high graduation rate could be attributed to the competitive wages and benefits of Local 17 and the wide variety of available jobs in the Chicago area. In addition, he said, the Local's comparatively low retirement age is a significant selling point as well.

He discussed the benefits of the apprenticeship program and talked about Local 17 training center, which is one of the largest Insulator training centers in North America. Having a vast training facility is beneficial, but producing consistently safe and quality personnel is the Local's bread and butter, he added.

McGuckin also addressed the need for diversifying the Local's membership by reaching out to more women and people of color to join. He said the Union has had great success recruiting women and is actively working to increase the number of members who identify as a minority. He also noted that insulation work is a good profession for women because it requires less heavy lifting than other trades.

Registered Apprenticeships: One of the industry's best-kept secrets

McGuckin, a second-generation Insulator, touched on his background with the Insulators, which began with his apprenticeship in 1986. 

Prior to his apprenticeship, he attended Indiana University but quickly realized he needed another career option. Eventually, he was accepted as an apprentice into Local 17 and found it a good career choice. He spoke about how his time with the Insulators paved the way for a successful professional career 36 years later and counting.

McGuckin said the Insulators Union struggles to recruit apprentices because it is often looked over in favor of the larger building trades unions. Still, they are making strides by using different recruiting methods. 

Listen to the full interview here:


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