5200 hours of on the job training, 640 classroom hours, 4 years of dedication and sacrifice – that’s the kind of experience you get when you hire a journey level carpenter from the United Brotherhood of Carpenters. Saturday night, 405 fully trained journeymen and women graduated from the Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship and Training Fund program during a ceremony at the JW Marriott in Indianapolis, Indiana.
“Congratulations to the newest journey level carpenters,” said UBC General President Douglas McCarron in a video address to graduates. “You’ve reached a milestone in your careers and you did it during some very difficult times. The pandemic affected your training, but you stayed strong and completed your apprenticeship.”
405 graduates completed their apprenticeship – the most graduates ever in Indiana and Kentucky. IKORCC Executive Secretary-Treasurer M. Todd Pancake told graduates there’s never been a better time to be a union carpenter.
“You may not realize it, but you’ve met a goal. And now it’s time to look ahead and set a new goal. There are more opportunities available today than I’ve ever seen in the industry,” said EST Pancake as he congratulated graduates and shared the plethora of opportunities in the job market for skilled tradespeople.
This year’s graduates overcame many challenges due to COVID-19, including taking portions of their 4th year classes online, in addition to meeting rigorous graduation requirements. These graduates are a vital addition to a workforce desperate for skilled tradesmen. Graduates were trained as carpenters, millwrights or floor coverers.
“Everything we do is about attitude. Everything you do is 100 percent attitude, so always remember that. We are many trades, but one United Brotherhood,” Jerry Burke, Director of Education for the IKORCC JATF said.
16 Veterans Graduate through Helmets to Hardhats
16 of the graduates honorably served in our nation’s military and took part in the IKORCC’s Helmets to Hardhats program. Helmets to Hardhats puts vets on a fast track to union apprenticeship and a rewarding career in carpentry after their military service.
Helmets to Hardhats graduates represented the US Marines, US Army, US Army Reserves, and the US Navy.
Continuous Training Sets Union Carpenters Apart
In a speech to graduates, Royce Peters, Executive Director of the Carpenters International Training Fund, encouraged graduates to be good mentors and continue their training. “This journeymen class is now walking on paths in the construction industry that are not only unprecedented but unimaginable. Technology is changing. The key to staying competitive in today’s construction world is training.”
A New Generation of Journeymen & Journeywomen
New journeywoman Brittany Grier, from the Warsaw Training Center and Local 413, inspired the room as the 2021 IKORCC JAFT graduate speaker. Brittany is a fourth-generation carpenter, third-generation union carpenter and a second-generation female carpenter. She’s a superintendent for Ziolkowski Construction.
“The union runs in my blood and I believe in its ability to unite and build,” she said. “We are undervalued profession, yet we earn more hourly than the average American. Plus, 100 percent of our benefits are paid for by the contractor out of their pocket.”
She added, “In this room are all new journeyman carpenters. We have this fresh start to strengthen the reputation of the union, raise our worth, which will raise our wage – it all starts here with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters. Uniting together, treating our brothers like family and in turn changing the industry of carpentry.”
View her full speech here: