December 2012

Colorado Statewide Ironworkers Joint Apprenticeship Training Program

The Colorado Statewide Ironworkers JATC was established in 1957 to serve the members and contractors of Local 24 (Denver). Over the years, the program has seen many improvements, all with the purpose of providing Colorado's union ironworkers with the best training available in the industry.

The most recent improvement has been the construction of a new, state-of-the-art training center in the Denver metro area, which began in March 2010.  This new facility offers over 7,000 square feet of office and classroom space with multiple classrooms and a computer lab. A significant investment was made in the equipment to provide webcasts and Internet-based training, enabling the use of a distance learning option when needed. The well-equipped shop provides 10,800 square feet of indoor "hands-on" training. Training mockups and equipment include a 40' X 45' structural steel mockup, an area for confined space training, five-ton overhead crane, ornamental store front mockup, construction scaffolding system, two-point suspension scaffold (motorized), reinforcing steel, 27-booth welding lab, and more.

The training center is an Ironworkers International Welding Program Accredited Test Facility, and is working on completing the requirements of the Ironworkers Apprenticeship Certification Program.  To meet the instructional requirements, the program currently employs thirteen part-time specialty instructors to teach the apprentice and journeyman courses.

Apprentice enrollment averages approximately sixty to seventy apprentices per year; however, due to poor economic conditions enrollment has been lower over the last few years. The program currently has 28 indentured apprentices within Colorado. Apprentice training runs from September through May with classes scheduled from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. two nights per week.

Journeyman upgrade training and participation has steadily increased primarily due to mandates within the collective bargaining agreement and site specific training requirements. Courses offered include: OSHA Ten & Thirty Hour, OSHA Sub Part R, OSHA Sub Part CC, Scaffold Training, Fall Protection, Foreman Training, Welder Training & Qualification, First Aid/CPR, Lead Hazard Awareness, Survival of the Fittest, Computer Classes, Qualified Rigger & Signal Person, MSHA Certification, Layout Instruments, Ornamental Training, Powder Actuated Tools, Aerial Lift Training, Forklift Operation Training, Reinforcing Steel/ Post-Tensioning, and Blueprint Reading.

In July 2012, the United Stated Department of Labor celebrated 75 years of registered apprenticeship by selecting leading apprenticeship programs for an award. More than 300 programs completed the competition survey and submitted them to the DOL for consideration. Local 24 was one of eight programs in the United States to receive an award. The prestigious "Trail Blazer Award" was given to recognize outstanding achievement in demonstrating innovation and pioneering efforts in apprentice education and recruiting resulting in a positive impact on apprenticeship. Some of the attributes Local 24 demonstrated to win the award were recycling of plate steel and welding materials, purchasing energy saving welding machines, employing a variable speed welding exhaust system, LEED practices utilized during construction of the new facility, an articulation agreement with Emily Griffith Technical College awarding for 42 credit hours to completing apprentices, and the utilization of multimedia web-casting/distance learning technologies.

The hard work and dedication of the training coordinator, instructors, and joint apprenticeship committee clearly demonstrates a commitment to training Colorado's union ironworkers now and into the future.