March 2013

National Fund Announces 2013 Annual Instructor Training Program

On behalf of the National Ironworkers and Employers Apprenticeship Training and Journeyman Upgrading Fund, I am pleased to announce the Twenty-Ninth Annual Ironworker Instructors Training Program being held at the Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Michigan from July 15-19, 2013. It promises to be another exciting year with new courses that will certainly improve our training programs across North America.

We often hear that our apprenticeship programs are the lifeblood of our great union and the apprenticeship coordinators are the instructional leaders of these programs. Without the commitment of each joint apprenticeship and training committee and trade improvement committee, our summer training program would have ceased to exist long ago. I want to thank each ironworker and employer representative who volunteers their time to attend JATC and TIC meetings and make the decisions necessary to continue to build and improve the training programs they represent. By approving expenditures and supporting coordinators and instructors to attend the annual program, committees are ensuring program quality by recognizing the importance of trainer development.

I attended my first instructor training program in 1991 and have only missed a few since. Every course I attended, whether it was a professional development or technical course, I learned something I brought back to my training center and incorporated it into the course curriculum I taught. That's the goal isn't it? To constantly improve yourself so you can improve your program?

Each year we offer new courses to meet the needs of local training programs. This year we will offer the following new courses:

Experienced Apprenticeship Coordinator Course: This 10-hour discussion-based course is designed for experienced apprenticeship co-ordinators and directors. Participants will engage in group discussions using case studies developed by experienced coordinators and directors as well as National Training Fund staff. In addition, this course encourages coordinators or directors to share problems, issues and/or situations with which they need assistance. Each participant will receive a copy of the Ironworker Apprenticeship and Training Programs: A Guide for Coordinators and Directors to be used as a resource during the course.

Hazardous Materials Update: OSHA Hazard Communication Standard: This 10-hour course will focus on the CPWR HAZCOM Program. CPWR, the Center for Construction Safety and Health Research and Training, created a four-hour hazard communication program shortly before OSHA issued its major revisions to the HAZCOM standard, rendering the course non-compliant. Subsequently, CPWR conducted a gap analysis of the course to determine what needed to be changed. CPWR is currently revising the course to ensure it covers the major changes in the standard, addresses specific chemical exposures encountered by the various construction trades and employs effective adult education strategies. The final curriculum will include a PowerPoint presentation, student manual, instructor manual and a resources disc that is broken out by individual trade. The materials, which will include a one-hour version of the longer course, will be pilot tested in the spring of 2013 with a final product to be released in 2014. These materials, along with other relevant topics, will form the primary focus of this Hazardous Materials Instructor Update course.

Using ExamView Testing Software: This 10-hour course will focus on the ExamView Assessment Suite Version 7.50, which is software apprenticeship coordinators and instructors can use for creating, administering and scoring their own tests. Course participants will learn to use the ExamView software including how to upload test banks from the National Training Fund training packages. This is a hands-on course that takes place in a computer lab.

Reinforcing Drawings & Rigging: This 20-hour course will focus on reading reinforcing drawings as well as specialty rigging applications within the reinforcing industry. Information in the current reinforcing manual will be supplemented, expanded on and covered in detail. This will better enable instructors to teach these specialized subjects at the local level. It is recommended participants complete the REF4 reinforcing course prior to, or at the same time, as they take this course.

Those apprenticeship coordinators and instructors who complete specific course requirements will receive their Qualified Ironworker Instructor Certificate. In 2012, we presented certificates to 27 ironworkers.

As our annual program is held on the campus of Washtenaw Community College, we have established the Industrial Training Associate in Science Degree for Ironworker Coordinators and Instructors. This degree program gives our journeymen the opportunity to apply their work as apprentice instructors and coordinators toward an associate in science degree. Ironworkers who receive credits for their apprenticeship program courses are able to complete courses during approximately five summer training programs in order to receive their degree.

We are extremely proud of our annual training program. Ensuring that we have qualified coordinators and instructors with up-to-date knowledge and skills will help us to continue to develop skilled ironworkers to meet the needs of our contractors. This will allow us to maintain our reputation as the most skilled, well-trained workforce in the construction industry.