This past summer the MN AFL-CIO Dislocated Worker Labor Liaison, Liz McLoone, along with the MN Department of Employment and Economic Development’s (DEED) Dislocated Worker Rapid Response team toured several union training centers and got a first-hand look at their apprenticeship programs.
The tour started out in Hermantown with Iron Workers Local 512. Local 512's jurisdiction covers all of Minnesota, North Dakota, and 21 counties in western Wisconsin. Within the local they have over 1,340 journey-level ironworkers and 550 apprentices.
Iron Workers Local 512 pride themselves on having a three year apprenticeship program that allows folks to earn as they learn, which gives their apprentices a chance to gain on-the-job experience and bring home a livable wage while they are in training. Ironworkers are part of the Building Trades team who build our bridges, office towers, highways, hotels, stadiums and more. At Local 512 they prepare their apprentices to be skilled in all aspects of iron work.
Structural ironworkers unload, erect and connect fabricated iron beams to form the projects’ skeleton. They move machinery and work on large commercial buildings, bridges, stadiums, heavy industrial, and mine maintenance.
Reinforcing ironworkers fabricate and place rebar in concrete forms to reinforce structures. They also install post-tensioning cables to place in concrete forms along with reinforcing steel and stress tendons using hydraulic jacks and pumps after the concrete is poured and hardened.
Ornamental ironworkers install metal windows into a building’s masonry or wooden openings and erect curtain wall and window wall systems that cover the steel or reinforced concrete structure of a building. They also install and erect metal stairways, catwalks, gratings, doors, railings, fencing, elevator fronts and building entrances.
At Iron Workers Local 512 they believe education does not stop with graduation from the apprenticeship program. The union’s National Training Fund offers journey-level ironworkers a path to a welding certification and specialized courses in foreman training and advanced safety/health classes.
They also believe in being a contributing member of the local community. The Local 512 Hermantown Apprenticeship Program has worked with the community through volunteer projects such as:
- The fabrication, assembly and take down of the Bentleyville Tour of Lights 128 foot tall Christmas Tree since 2010.
- Placed rebar and provided rigging skills for the 148th Fighter Wing's Static Jet Display at the Air National Guard base in Duluth.
Applications are currently being accepted for the 2018 Spring Apprenticeship classes for the program in Hermantown. For more information please contact Brian Nelson at 218-733-2680 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on the program in St. Paul please contact the office at 651-489-3829.