Washtenaw Community College and the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Union signed a five-year contract extension today to continue to hold the renowned Iron Workers Instructor Training Program (ITP) on the WCC campus. The announcement was made by Dr. Rose B. Bellanca, WCC President and Lee Worley, Executive Director of Apprenticeship and Training, Ironworkers International.
This year marks the 31st year the annual program has been held – moving to WCC in 2010. Each July, the partnership brings iron worker instructors together from across the United States and Canada to train their peers with the most contemporary skill sets to meet the demands of today's construction industry.
The program trains for proficiency in jobs involving welding, structural steel erection, architectural and ornamental ironwork, concrete reinforcement, rigging and machinery moving and installation – as well as blueprint reading and computer skills for the ever-changing job market. An iron worker's expertise can be seen in every building, bridge, and highway across this country and that expertise requires specialized skills that must be refined and updated.
"We selected Washtenaw Community College because of their excellent facilities," said Walter Wise, Iron Workers General President. "During the past five years, the community and the college have exceeded our expectations and we look forward to the extension of our mutually beneficial relationship for another five years," he said. "As home to our annual Instructor's Training Program, Washtenaw Community College impacts the training of tens of thousands of iron workers in our 154 training centers throughout North America to be safe, skilled and productive."
"This program is more vital than ever as the skilled trades gap continues to grow across the country," said Dr. Bellanca. "We are honored to extend our partnership with the Ironworkers as our state-of-the-art facilities provide the equipment and hands-on experience the instructors need. It's time to put renewed importance in the significance of the skilled trades and begin to close the gap which is an impediment to a thriving economy."
The 2015 Iron Worker's Instructor Training program will be held from July 13 through July 17, with approximately 600 participants expected to attend. The regional community benefits when the program comes each year, it generates nearly $3 million in economic impact within Washtenaw County.
The Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau will provide hospitality services and events for the attendees. "We are thrilled to host our friends at the Iron Workers for another five years," said Mary Kerr, Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO. "Whether they are returning or visiting the area for the first time, it's a pleasure to share the uniqueness and charm of Washtenaw County. We look forward to it every year."