July 2016

Reinforcing Ironworker Training at Local 25

Recent forecasts have estimated a net increase of 10,000 rodbusters will be needed to meet industry demands by 2019. If we don’t meet that demand, someone else will.  It is important all of our training centers provide the specialized reinforcing training needed to ensure we have enough qualified ironworkers to fill these jobs.  I recently had the opportunity to visit Local 25’s (Detroit) training center in Wixom, Michigan, and was it was clear they are providing the specialized training needed to get this done. Among the many impressive mockups and work stations they had, there were several replicating different types of rod work done in the field.

When Local 25 designed and built a new training center in 2007, the primary goal was to provide the very best training in all aspects of ironwork, and it is clear meeting the demands of the reinforcing industry was part of that goal. To achieve the best possible results, the program has an instructor with over 30 years of field experience in the reinforcing industry. The curriculum design and hands-on training they provide to apprentices is clearly some of the best in the industry. 

The full curriculum totaling over 850 hours includes over 40 different courses and at least 15 different certifications. 130 hours of the training is in reinforcing subjects with 75 of those hours allocated to classroom instruction. Reinforcing courses include:

• Job Orientation – 8 hours
• Introduction to Reinforcing Steel – 35 hours
• Reinforcing Blue Prints, Placing, and Splicing – 45 hours
• Unbonded Post Tensioning – 50 hours
• Students all take the PTI Unbonded certification exam
• Bonded Post Tensioning training and certification is optional

Hands-on training dedicated to reinforcing work requires a minimum of 55 hours. The practical training is used to develop the skills needed to safely and efficiently perform the related work on the job. The training center staff has designed and implemented several different mockups with blue prints and very realistic and appropriate performance tasks. All apprentices are required to complete each mockup and exercise, including reading prints, doing layout and properly placing all components. The different work stations include: 

• Rebar racks used to practice tying and improve speed
• 10-foot high, double face wall complete with corner and opening
• Double foundation mat with wall dowels
• Double spread footing with wall dowels – built up and set into forms 
• Square column – build and set
• Caisson – build and set using snatch blocks
• Unbonded post tensioning beam slab-banded slab combo
• Stressing block for stressing and destressing cables
• Stressing table for attaching a fixed anchor

This is just one example of what our local apprenticeship training programs are doing to ensure we have enough trained rodmen to fill the need. The Apprenticeship and Training Department has developed reinforcing and post-tensioning training packages, and pays for members to take the Post Tensioning Institute certification exam. Use these training resources to make sure our members continue to be the best trained in the industry.