WCC welcomes Ironworkers back to campus for Instructor Training Program

July 16, 2018 Richard Rezler

WCC President Dr. Rose B. Bellanca welcomes the Union Ironworkers to the area during an opening session on Sunday.
WCC President Dr. Rose B. Bellanca welcomes the Union Ironworkers to the area during an opening session on Sunday.

The Ironworkers are back, bringing with them more than 825 people to the state-of-the-art training facilities at Washtenaw Community College and an estimated economic impact of up to $5 million to Washtenaw County.

For the ninth consecutive year, the Ironworkers union – officially The International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers – is holding its Instructor Training Program at WCC. The trade union signed a five-year contract in March 2015 to keep the annual event on the WCC campus through at least 2020.

“Our relationship with the Ironworkers is truly one of the most important we have at Washtenaw Community College,” said WCC President Dr. Rose B. Bellanca. “Each year, hundreds of instructors come to campus to learn the latest technology, techniques and procedures to ensure the Ironworkers remain the best-equipped and skilled workforce in the world, while performing the job in the safest, most efficient manner possible.”

This year’s training runs from Monday, July 16 to Friday, July 20 and will bring together apprenticeship coordinators, instructors, contractors, business managers, business agents and owners from across the United States and Canada. Attendees receive train-the-trainer instruction in welding, structural steel erection, architectural and ornamental ironwork, concrete reinforcement, rigging and machinery moving and installation, as well as blueprint reading, computer skills and a number of other trade-related subjects.

Ironworkers General President Eric Dean, himself an apprentice instructor from 1989 to 1995, welcomed the training attendees during an opening session Sunday at the Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest.

“The greatest thing we can do is pass on the knowledge of our business to the next generation of Ironworkers,” Dean said. “Your responsibilities are immense. … You’re some of the most important people in our business.”

The Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest serves as the program headquarter hotel, though participants are guests at other local hotels around the area and at dormitories on the campus of the University of Michigan and Concordia University-Ann Arbor. The Washtenaw County Convention and Visitors Bureau provides hospitality services and events for the attendees.

“We are delighted to welcome over 800 staff, instructors and skilled tradespeople to the Ann Arbor area, from across the United States and Canada,” said Mary Kerr, President and CEO of Destination Ann Arbor. "Throughout the week, our guests will have the opportunity to explore area attractions, dining establishments, and unique shops. We’re very pleased to provide hospitality services to the attendees, and know that they’ll enjoy their time in Washtenaw County."

The Ironworkers first conducted their training program on the WCC campus in 2010 after holding the event in California the previous 25 years.


Washtenaw Community College doesn’t just host training for the Ironworkers. The college also helps students get into the trade.

Initiated by the relationship between the Ironworkers and WCC, the college introduced a pre-apprenticeship program for Ironworkers in September 2017. The certificate program teaches some of the skills needed to become a union Ironworker apprentice in their programs in the United States and Canada.

A combination of classroom and lab training at WCC provides results that come with real-world experience. The program includes blueprint reading, math, safety and welding training used by the union Ironworker trade.

Students who successfully complete the program will receive a certificate of completion and be eligible for advanced standing in the Ironworker Local Union Apprenticeship Training Program. The apprentices will then go on to become a journeyman Ironworker when they complete their apprenticeship.

To view the program description and courses, visit wccnet.edu and search for CTPAIW.


For more information about Washtenaw Community College, visit www.wccnet.edu.

Media contact: Susan Ferraro, 734-677-5295, [email protected]

Tags: 2018, Ironworkers, ousearch_News_2018