, Reporter Louisville Business First
Two Louisville skilled trade unions are spending millions combined to expand their training facilities as their apprenticeship programs expand with the city's ongoing development.
The Plumbers, Pipefitters & Service Technicians of the United Association Local 502 and Ironworkers Local 70 are developing new training centers on their campuses, both of which are located on Crittenden Drive.
Jason Carter, an ironworker, carried a support angle into place while working on the Abraham Lincoln Bridge.
Ohio River Bridges Project
The UA Local 502 received a permit earlier this month to build a two-story, 15,000-square-foot training facility at 4330 Crittenden Dr., which is expected to take as long as eight months to complete, said business manager Danny DeSpain. Louisville-based Abel Construction Co. Inc. is the general contractor and has started work on the structure.
"They've got the footers in," he said.
DeSpain said the new facility will include an auditorium capable of seating about 200 people as well as classroom space, allowing the union to focus on hands-on training at its training facility on Millers Lane.
The building also might house a health clinic for members, he added.
DeSpain expects the construction costs to be more than $2 million. The union, which has more than 1,900 members, including retirees, spends more than $1 million a year on training, he said.
“We’ve put a lot of emphasis and money into training," he said.
The new building is needed as the company now has nearly 300 apprentices in its apprenticeship program, driven by the amount of work going on in the area and the need to replenish workers because of retirements.
Apprentices in the UA Local 502's five-year program gain a journeyman certification and also can receive an associate's degree in applied science from Ivy Tech Community College, according to the union's website
. The program also opens the door for specialized certifications.
At 2441 Crittenden Drive, Ironworkers Local 70 also is boosting its training facilities through the construction of a 4,500-square-foot training center, said Dean Tharp, business representatives for Local 70, which has about 700 members.
The building will include a large classroom and offices and will offer more hands-on training with a crane that will be placed in the facility.
Tharp and Stiles said the building will allow apprentices to practice on assembling a curtain wall system, skylights, door installation and other architectural and ornamental finish work.
There also will be an area to work on reinforcing concrete, and eventually the local wants to expand training programs for building assembly.
The project is expected to cost about $800,000 and will add to a 3,400-square-foot training center that has classrooms, office space and a welding shop. Ironworkers Local 70 also has another area on campus for meeting space.
Local 70 officials expect to choose a general contractor in the coming weeks and hope to start work on the project by the first of the year, with a roughly six-month construction schedule. The goal is to be completed before fall 2017.
"That is a must," Tharp said. "We’ve got to be ready by next fall."
Local 70's four-year apprenticeship program
has a little more than 70 members now, offering a journeyman certification and an associate's degree from Ivy Tech.
Stiles anticipates the apprenticeship program will grow to more than 100 members with the expansion.
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