The Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters (IKORCC), an affiliate of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, announces the graduation ceremony of the Ohio JATC Graduation held on February 2, 2019, at the Columbus Convention Center. This was the largest graduating apprentice class of this program in Ohio’s history, graduating 285 members. Each year apprentices of the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Center (JATC) graduate becoming journeymen and women. Apprentices spent four years learning carpentry or millwrighting while working in their chosen specialty. These highly skilled journeymen and women are representative of the education movement in our country. Their skills, work ethic and experience make our country strong through all tiers of society.
Singer, Bailey Andrews, opened the ceremony with “God Bless America” and “The Star Spangled Banner,” her voice beautifully proud to be honoring these graduates and our country. Vince Wright, Ohio JATC Director, played MC throughout the night first introducing Mark McGriff, IKORCC Executive Secretary-Treasurer, who congratulated graduates with inspiration for the next chapter in their careers.
Each graduation features a graduating apprentice speaker. This year, Ed Herrera, graduating apprentice of the Monroe JATC Campus, spoke to his fellow graduates moving them to continue to work hard and use the incredible skills the JATC taught them. His life as a carpenter started at the age of nine building chicken coops with his grandfather. Along his journey, he found the woman he would move to Ohio with and marry. Here, Ed received an opportunity to join the Union in September 2014. Within two years, he managed projects for his contractor. His dedication does not stop at the drywall. Ed took it upon himself to mentor his fellow apprentices. From carpentry to instructing, Ed is now an instructor at the Monroe, Ohio training campus.
Ed shared, “I was raised in a family where all we knew was hard work. I kept my nose to the grindstone and learned everything I possibly could about my field. When I began my third year of the apprenticeship, I learned that there was a lot more to being a Union Carpenter than just drywall. One of the things that made me the most proud was learning that this Union was formed for every carpenter. Being a part of this Brotherhood has helped me understand the meaning and feeling of solidarity. I am so proud to be able to teach, to mentor and to fill my calling every day.”
Patrick Reardon, CPM of ApprenticeOhio, addressed the graduates on the theme of collaboration, “The organization has dedicated and committed themselves to providing you with quality training and a career opportunity. Everyone that’s a part of this, it’s a collaborative effort.” He commended the graduates on the quality of training they received through the apprenticeship program noting that this is a top tier program in the world.
Perhaps the most touching moment of the evening was the tradition of honoring our graduates who are a part of the Helmets to Hardhats (H2H) program within the apprenticeship. Anyone who has served for our country in the military is automatically accepted into the apprenticeship program upon applying. Dan Sustin, Director of the Richfield JATC and U.S. Army Ranger, remarks that,
“They’ve already proved that they’re reliable. You can’t survive in the military very long without being reliable. They’re fantastic students. The class of veterans that gravitate toward us through the Helmets to Hardhats program, we can’t get enough of them.”
Dan Sustin was proud to announce his fellow H2H brothers and sisters during their special recognition.