Tim Klotz, director of the Painters and Allied Trades District Council 2’s Apprentice Training Program retired recently, putting the finishing touches on a 17-year tenure training skilled union painters.
When Klotz learned the trade some 37 years ago, he attended apprentice school in the basement of the union hall. He worked in the field 20 years before taking the helm of the training program, and has seen the Painters’ apprentice training facility grow from being a small space in the basement of the union hall to their new $3.5 million, 75,000-square-foot training facility that more than triples the school’s previous space and combines classes once spread among five buildings in St. Louis.
“We lacked good hands-on training space,” Klotz said. “Even with the five buildings we did not have good training space to duplicate job conditions.”
Klotz said the new facility provides the ability to accommodate up to 425 students – a 30 percent increase from those earlier days.
ONE OF THE BEST
“I had the privilege of training apprentices in a facility with an infrastructure to create the actual job conditions,” Klotz said. “I’m proud to have been the first to oversee training in what is considered one of the best apprentice training facilities in the nation.”
The facility has allowed him to provide apprentices with the skills needed for drywall finishing, painting walls, installing wall coverings, decorative effects and to use areas devoted to proper painting of doors and windows.
The new training center also provides Society for Protective Coatings (SSPC) certifications and journeyman safety training, such as Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10- and 30-Hour, lead abatement and licensure, scaffold and more.
“The majority of faces I see as journeymen came through this program with me,” Klotz said. “I’m grateful that I helped people with building a better life for themselves.”
Klotz holds a bachelor’s degree in Labor Education and Safety from the National Labor College, George Meany Campus, the only college in the United States with an exclusive mission to serve the educational needs of the labor movement.
He says he plans to enjoy four-wheeling, hunting and spending time in the great outdoors.
Klotz has been married to his wife, Debbie, 40 years, has two children, Sarah and Ryan, and two grandchildren.
Tim Bernstetter officially replaced Klotz as director of training May 1.
Bernstetter is a 28-year member who started as an apprentice in 1984. He became an apprentice instructor five years ago and teaches everything from commercial to residential to light industrial skills.
“I’m excited about the challenge and looking forward to taking apprentices to the next level,” Bernstetter said.
In September, the Painters Apprentice program will stretch from three years to a new four-year curriculum, and that means additional safety courses, Bernstetter said.
“This is what sets non-union painters from union painters—our commitment to training and to safety.”