Ironworkers News Archive

2018  |  2019

Ironworkers take training to a new level - (11/20/2018)

Training. It is what sets union ironworkers apart from their non-union colleagues – the immense amount of training that produces a highly-skilled workforce. The Ironworkers Apprenticeship program encompasses over 600 hours of training in the classroom and hands-on, over the course of three years. However, apprentices from Local No. 404 receive additional training. They have the unique ability to train alongside Operating Engineers apprentices from Local No. 542 (Philadelphia, PA) at their training facility in Bernville, PA.

"On a job site, Ironworkers and Operators work hand-in-hand," explained Dan Hoke, Ironworker Apprenticeship Coordinator for Local No. 404. "Training together at the Operators training center is about as close to the real thing this next generation of Ironworkers and Operators can get.”

A 400-acre converted farm, the Bernville facility provides real-world, hands-on experience in a controlled setting. Operators and Ironworker apprentices work side-by-side, learning their crafts as they build a three-story structure.

“Apprentices for both the Ironworkers and Operators receive the opportunity to build a structure, while under the watchful eye of instructors,” said Hoke. “As instructors, we can offer real guidance that can be applied to a job site. This is practical training, and it's the best tool we have to deliver the level of experience our Contractors and Owners expect.”

For an Ironworker, no two jobs are the same. There’s structural, rebar, welding, ornamental and everything else in between. According to Ironworker Instructor Curt Campfield, that’s why this hands-on approach is critical to advancing the skill level of each apprentice. 

“These apprentices read about the skills in the classroom and then get to apply them here, in a staged setting. Working with Operators at the Bernville site, allows us to set these apprentices up for success, so when they are faced with challenges in the field they have real experiences they can pull from.”

Ironworker apprentices from Local No. 404 train with the Operators multiple times a year. This periodic training, across seasons, ensures they are well prepared for any situation they will face in the field. By teaming up with the Operators at their Bernville training facility, apprentices are able to forge relationships with fellow union craftsmen early on as they apply their skills to a variety of scenarios. 

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