January 2013

Apprenticeship Coordinators Conference

The Iron Workers and Employers National Training Fund held its bi-annual apprentice competition in conjunction with the Apprentice Coordinators Conference. The event, the Circle City Challenge, was held from September 20-23, 2012. The hosts, Local 22 (Indianapolis) and the District Council of Southern Ohio and Vicinity, did a fantastic job hosting the competition and conference.

This year's coordinators conference was well attended with the coordinators and JATC/TIC members in attendance. During the coordinators conference, the participants were given an update on new developments within the apprenticeship and training department and the importance of revising their standards of apprenticeship. "Every program should revise their standards every four-five years," said DOL Regional Director Dean Guido, "State and federal laws change from year to year." He also stated, "It's important for coordinators to attend their apprenticeship council meetings so they can report back to their JATCs with recommendations for revising or updating their standards."

Executive Director Lee Worley spoke on the importance for each coordinator to have a strong relationship with their business manager, organizing department, joint apprenticeship training committee, and assigned state or federal apprenticeship representative. Direct entry methods into apprenticeship programs was a hot topic in that it is important to have methods of registering new members who have credible work experience or training. Candidates from Helmets to Hardhats, organized members, and graduates of Native American and other pre-apprenticeship programs often have skills and/or knowledge that a typical first year apprentice does not have.

Day one of the meeting included topics on welding, superintendent training, and harassment and discrimination in the classroom and on the jobsite. Executive Director of Safety Steve Rank spoke on important issues regarding safety, which included the assembly and disassembly of cranes; and Political Action Director Dave Kolbe spoke about the upcoming presidential election. On day two, Ontario District Council President Kevin Bryenton began the day with a report on Canadian apprenticeship and employment issues. Other reports included an update on mine safety, post-tensioning, wind turbine, and apprenticeship training funds. General Secretary Eric Dean ended the meeting with, 'Thank all of you for attending. It's important for you to come together as a group and listen to reports from your executive director and his department. Be sure to take the message of being the expert in apprenticeship and apply what is needed to your home local."