The International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Union began its 31st annual Iron Worker’s Instructor Training program Monday, July 13. This July marks the 6th year that this program has been held on the Washtenaw Community College campus.
The Iron Worker’s Instructor Training program brings in iron worker instructors from across the U.S. and Canada for peer training to keep their skill sets up to the ever-evolving standards of the industry, according to WCC faculty member and Iron Workers liaison Cristy Lindemann.
“I want you to think about the best teacher you’ve ever had in your life; that’s the person that’s training the other instructors,” Lindemann said. “It’s the biggest honor to have these people on our campus. I’m working with the cream of the crop in the United States and Canada.”
The training takes place in several buildings across the campus, making room for approximately 700 participants.
The Iron Workers are drawn to WCC for its world-renowned welding facilities and its customer service, according to WCC President Dr. Rose Bellanca.
“The reason we were chosen is because of our strength in terms of preparing people for skilled trades,” Bellanca said.
“We really do focus a lot of energy on making sure that we provide a successful opportunity for them. We work really hard to do our best to give them the program that they want.”
Hosting the Iron Workers training on WCC’s campus has been mutually beneficial. By hosting the Instructor’s Training Program, Washtenaw Community College impacts the training of tens of thousands of iron workers in the union’s 154 training centers throughout North America. Also, having the Iron Workers in the Washtenaw County area generates nearly $3 million in economic impact within the county, according to the college’s press release.
“We’re a community college and as a community college, we care about our community,” Bellanca said. “So this is how we can work in partnership to really make sure that we’re doing the best for everyone that lives here and has businesses here.”
The union and the college resolidified this partnership in March by signing a five-year contract extension.
“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,” said Walter Wise, Iron Workers General President, according to the college’s press release.