By SHERI GASSAWAY
Sunset Hills, MO – One hundred and seven Eastern Missouri laborer apprentices recently celebrated becoming journey workers after graduating from the Construction Craft Laborers’ Apprenticeship program.
Some 75 of the graduates took part in the 18th Annual Construction Craft Laborers’ Apprenticeship Recognition Dinner at the LIUNA Event Center in Sunset Hills on March 15. The event was sponsored by the AGC-Eastern Missouri Laborers’ Joint Training Fund.
The graduates, from Locals 110, 42, 660, 1104 and 955, had to complete between 288 and 376 hours of training at the Laborers’ Training Center in Hill High, MO and 4,000 working hours of construction employment with their contractors.
TRAINING IS LIFELONG
Gary Elliot, business manager for the Eastern Missouri Laborers District Council, challenged the graduates to continue on the learning path they started in the apprenticeship program.
“Training is lifelong and keeps you in demand,” he said to the graduates. “I also challenge you to participate in all your local union functions and your federal, state and local elections, be involved in your community and be family oriented because that’s what we are, a family.”
Jim R Urtz, III, LIUNA national apprenticeship director, echoed Elliot’s thoughts on keeping up with training.
“You are journey workers, but your journey has just begun,” he said. “Don’t forget to go back to the training center. There is new technology and new regulations coming and opportunities to sharpen and broaden your skills.”
UNION APPRENTICESHIP GROWING
Josh Wright, the program’s apprenticeship advisor, said the number of graduates in this year’s class was up quite a bit over last year.
“Our program is growing,” he told the Labor Tribune. “It’s the push of the economy and the fact that there are so many laborers retiring.”
For information on the Laborers’ apprenticeship program, visit midwestlaborers.org.