WCC Welcomes UA Instructors Aug. 12-17
WCC is busy preparing for the 59th annual United Association Instructor Training Program (ITP). This year marks the 23rd consecutive year that more than 1,200 UA plumbing, pipe and sprinkler fitting, welding, and HVAC service techs from across North America have converged on campus for a week of intensive instruction.
The program, which runs Aug. 12-17, is designed to improve teaching techniques, diversify mechanical skills, and enhance knowledge of the scientific and technical elements of the trades. Students must attend five, one-week training sessions to graduate from the program.
Each year the UA sponsors a special day for industry professionals who tour campus and meet with UA representatives. This year, a top official from the Plumbing Trades Employees Union, Australia, as well as government, contractor, and industry representatives from Australia will be on hand to sign an agreement that could result in a significant employment initiative between the U.S., Canada, and Australia.
Many Look Forward to a Return Trip Each Year
One of the familiar faces at this year’s program will be Ed Sleiman. As an industry veteran, Sleiman travels from Windsor, Ontario, each year to share his knowledge and experience with other UA members. It is something he has enjoyed doing since he graduated from the ITP in 1990.
“The UA has the best highly skilled tradesmen in the world. But sometimes they lack the communication skills to teach and get the materials across to the younger generation,” said Sleiman, who serves his UA local as training director and his Windsor community as a city councilman. “The Instructor Training Program plays an important role in training and polishing our instructors. It provides an environment to meet and exchange ideas. More importantly, it creates friendships that last a lifetime.”
Sleiman speaks from experience. He taught classes at his Windsor local for 15 years. Now as training coordinator, he brings his instructors to campus to work toward their own instructor training credentials. Once that is achieved, he nudges them to continue on for a degree.
“The ITP week is filled with activities and challenges,” Sleiman said. “When we come here, we learn how to teach, how to take the monotony out of the class, how to develop interest, how to mark tests, and how to motivate our apprentices to excel. We learn how to pass on our knowledge and skills to the younger generation, thus continuing the tradition of ‘we do it right the first time and every time.’
“Washtenaw Community College staff and the community receive us with open arms, treat us royally, and are always there to help when needed. Thank you.”