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Louisville Carpenters Help Homeless Vets

The Indiana Kentucky Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters (IKORCC) Membership Action Committee of Carpenters Local 175 Louisville, KY hung drywall in a home slated to be donated to a homeless Louisville veteran. This is one of three homes Kentucky Carpenters have helped renovate to help homeless veterans.

The project is a part of Operation Victory, affiliated with the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs. IKORCC contractors and suppliers graciously donated the drywall, screws, mud, tape, misc supplies, and even the finishing to make the project a success. Over a dozen members and their families came out to volunteer their time, knowledge and tools to help give this veteran a safe place and a fresh start.

“Our local has a lot of veterans and Helmets to Hardhats members. They put their lives on the line to protect us while serving, they should have a place to sleep when they get back home. It’s why our local is a proud partner in remodeling this home,” says Local 175 member and IKORCC business representative Noah Grimes.

Operation Victory is a coalition of Greater Louisville Area Unions, Non-Profit/Community Organizations, and Local Area Businesses joined together to rehabilitate vacant and abandoned homes for a Homeless Louisville Veteran. Veteran homelessness is an issue that is important to the Indiana Kentucky Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters because veterans put their lives on the line to protect us, and we believe they should have a home to come back to. The Operation Victory coalition plans to help at least four more homeless veterans this year with some help from area businesses and the IKORCC.

Special thanks to all who helped the veteran get back on his feet, including: Tony Dobson, Shea Dobson, Ron Gibson, Andrew Kayla Faulkner, Robert Johnson, Kelly Davis, Gleen Koenig, Stephen Sites, Ben Ganote, Ben’s son Angelo Moore, Mike Blevins, Thomas Hacker, Quality Interiors, L&W Supply Louisville, and Intex Systems.

Honoring Vets at KY Derby Festival

Saturday volunteers with the Indiana Kentucky Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters spent the day honoring our nation’s bravest at the Kentucky Derby Festival in Louisville. The festival gave free admission to vets and their families for their annual Military Appreciation Day & Tyler Farr county concert.

indiana kentucky ohio regional council of carpenters, carpenters union, training

Volunteers from the IKORCC spent the day educating people about our Helmets to Hardhats program, which helps vets get a job after returning home, often within six weeks. Helmets to Hardhats helps military service members successfully transition back into civilian life by offering them the means to secure a quality career in the construction industry. Our federally-approved apprenticeship program allows vets to use their Montgomery G.I. Bill benefits to supplement their income.

Based on vet’s military occupation code, we can help leverage training and work-related experience during their time in the service for possible advanced placement in our apprenticeship program. With an honorable discharge, veterans can be working on a job site as soon as six weeks!

One of our carpenters and his wife, who volunteered at the event, were thrilled to meet country star Tyler Farr just before his concert Saturday!

We’d like to thank all the brave men and women that serve our nation’s military. We’d also like to thank the many volunteers who spent the weekend helping our community.

Click here to learn more about our Helmets to Hardhats program.

IKORCC & JATC Add 222 New Journeymen to the Workforce

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 union journeyman. Carpenters, Ohio Carpenter JourneymanSaturday night, 222 fully trained journeymen and women graduated from the JATC & IKORCC apprenticeship program in Columbus, Ohio.

The graduates are a vital addition to a workforce desperate for skilled tradesmen. Graduates were trained as carpenters, millwrights or floor coverers.

Building America with Skilled Trades

In a speech to graduates, Patrick Reardon, Executive Administrator of Apprenticeship for the Ohio Office of Workforce Development, said IKORCC carpenters are building our future.

“When we think of an elite carpentry workforce here in the United States – it’s everyone graduating in this room,” he said. “Everyone here is building America and we are relying on you to continue to catapult us to the future.”

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.

State Training Director Vince Wright said, “Thousands of veterans come home to Ohio each year and need new jobs and careers to get started in. I’m proud to say out of our 2,200 apprentices, we have 216 Helmets to Hardhats apprentices.”

Colonel Mark J. Cappone, Assistant Director of Ohio Veterans Affairs, said, “Tonight is a great way to remember the contributions that our vets make to the workforce, to remind us that those who have served have grit, determination, perseverance and they know how to be on a team.”

Colonel Cappone presented a sealed recognition of the apprenticeship program on behalf of Ohio Governor John Kasich at the event. Governor Kasich commended the graduates for their hard work.

Continuous Training Sets Union Carpenters Apart

IKORCC Executive Secretary-Treasurer Mark McGriff also commended the graduates, while offering advice for the future. “When writing the story of your life, make sure no one else is holding the pen,” he said.

“There are so many opportunities in this organization, you have to take advantage of every single one of them,” McGriff added. McGriff and other staff members encouraged new journeymen to keep up with continuous training and serve as role models for apprentices.

A New Generation of Journeymen

New graduate Jacob Weiser, from the Northwest JATC and Local 351, plans to do both. Staff chose Weiser to speak at graduation after recognizing his dedication. “I’ve learned the importance of this apprenticeship and why the training is necessary to push our union and our trade forward,” Weiser said.

Weiser added, “I’m going to keep learning and keep trying to find better ways to get things done. I’m going to give my contractor what he’s paying for – a solid eight hours of carpentry, from a well-trained union journeymen carpenter.”

Congratulations to all graduates! 

How to thank this veteran (and others): Support prevailing wage

Gilbert Charles, of Pinckney, is a U.S. Army veteran who served in the 1980s and moved to the skilled trades. His son, Matt, has followed in his father’s footsteps as a veteran and now as an apprentice learning how to become an electrician.

By Gilbert Charles

As we near Veterans Day, we will hear from many political leaders how grateful they are for our service. Some will express concern about veterans who return home and their opportunity to find a good job to support their families.

As a U.S. Army vet who served in the 1980s — and as the father of an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan — I always appreciate those thoughts. But I’m also concerned about efforts in the Legislature that would cut the pay of many Michigan veterans working in the construction industry.

I returned to Michigan after my service, and looked around for a good job, one that would let me build on my training, provide fairly for my family, offer decent health care benefits and a path to retirement. I found that job, training in an apprentice program and becoming a journeyman electrician as a member of IBEW Local 252. A portion of my paycheck each week goes to the apprenticeship program, to ensure those veterans and others who come after me get the training they need to do their job well and safely.

That turns out to have been a good investment. Now my son Matt is following in my footsteps. He’s in the Local 252 IBEW-NECA apprenticeship program, earning while he learns, at no cost to taxpayers. We know a lot of veterans in the industry. A recent report by the State of Michigan showed that about 9 percent of veterans are in the construction industry, compared with about 6 percent of state workers overall. And many were attracted to the fair pay and good training made possible by the state’s prevailing wage laws.

It’s exciting to see my son work in major, complex construction jobs at the University of Michigan — jobs that demand the skills I’ve gained over the years. But it’s not clear that good paying jobs in the skilled trades professions will be available to future vets.

A handful of politically powerful special interests want to cut the pay and benefits going to skilled trades workers by eliminating prevailing wage policies, even though research shows taxpayers won’t save a dime.

Prevailing wage policies say that taxpayer-supported jobs have to pay the going rate of pay in the region — usually the union-negotiated wage. Any company can bid, union or nonunion. But they have to pay a fair wage rate. It helps keep out-of-state companies from coming in with cheaper, less skilled workers to do the minimally acceptable job that meets minimum standards.

It’s in the state’s best interest to attract veterans such as Matt into the skilled trades, where there is a shortage of workers today. But without prevailing wage policies, the job will be a lot less attractive — in fact, many skilled-trades workers, including veterans, won’t enter the profession, or will go to another state. (Other Midwest states have prevailing wage policies, it’s mostly low-paying states in the South that don’t). Union apprenticeship programs will also disappear, and taxpayers will have to pay for those programs.

So this November, don’t just thank Matt and I for our service. We know you appreciate that. Take another step. Tell your lawmakers to support good jobs for veterans by supporting prevailing wage laws. That way Michigan veterans can return confident they will be able to get good training and support their families by taking jobs in the skilled trades

Attacks On Prevailing Wage Laws Disproportionally Hurt Veterans

Media Contact: Doug Gordon (202) 494-5141 |doug@dsgstrategies.com

Report Finds That As Hundreds Of Thousands Of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Enter Work Force, Prevailing Wage Greatly Improves Economic Outcomes For Veterans

first-of-its-kind study released on May 10, 2016 finds that prevailing wage greatly improves economic outcomes for veterans and that growing attacks on prevailing wage at the state level will disproportionally hurt the hundreds of thousands post-9/11 veterans who are returning to the workforce.

Exploring of the economic impact of state prevailing wage laws on veterans in the construction industry, the study was commissioned by VoteVets, the largest progressive group of veterans in America. The study was conducted by Frank Manzo IV of the Illinois Economic Policy InstituteUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Professor Robert Bruno, and Colorado State University-Pueblo Economist, Dr. Kevin Duncan.

“The data clearly shows that veterans work in the skilled construction trades at significantly higher rates than non-veterans,” said Manzo. “The difference is even more pronounced in states with average or strong prevailing wage policies–so any changes in these laws will have an outsized impact on those who have served in the military.”

Click Here to Download the Full Report.

Click Here to Download a Summary of the Report.

With construction now the second-fastest growing industry in America, the military is helping active duty service personnel prepare for civilian careers through the US Military Apprenticeship Program (USMAP)—which now accounts for almost 22% of all registered apprenticeships in the country.

The study found that prevailing wage laws not only encourage more veterans to put these skills to work in their communities, but that they pull thousands of veterans out of poverty each year in the process.

Utilizing industry standard economic modeling, it also found that if each of the states with average or strong prevailing wage laws enacted repeals, 24,000 veterans would lose their health insurance, another 65,000 would leave the construction workforce, veteran construction workers would see their incomes drop by $3.1 billion per year, and nearly 8,000 veteran owned construction businesses would shut their doors.

With prevailing wage laws coming under attack in at least 11 states over the past two years, VoteVets has announced that it will be begin airing ads to educate the public about the importance of these standards, and hold lawmakers accountable.  The campaign will begin in Illinois, where Governor Bruce Rauner had proposed repeal at the local level as part of his “Turnaround Agenda.”

“It is appalling to see so many politicians who profess to ‘support veterans’ actively fighting to cut their wages,” said VoteVets Chairman Jon Soltz. “Prevailing wage laws help more veterans translate battlefield skills into middle class careers in their communities.  With too many post 9/11 veterans struggling to find work, we need to be strengthening these laws, not weakening them.”

Local Carpenters Volunteer in Home Construction for Wounded Soldier

ANDERSON, Ind. – Over the past year, Homes for Hoosier Heroes and various local trades, including carpenters, millwrights and floor coverers of the Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters (IKORCC) have been working on building a handicap- accessible home for former Army infantryman Timothy Frank Senkowski.

Senkowski was severely injured by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan, resulting in the loss of both of his legs.

Last month, Tim Thieme of Floor Coverers Local 364 was contacted by Chuck Gowan and Mike Brooks, pipe fitters who are involved in the project. Gowan and Brooks were in need of contractors wiling to lay flooring in Senkowski’s home. Thieme quickly agreed to help and reached out to Superior Carpet Installers of Indianapolis, who without hesitation jumped on board.

All of the underlayment was generously donated by Southland Flooring Supply. The vinyl plank and carpet was provided by Mohawk for a minuscule charge.

Local 364 floor coverers who volunteered for the project include Adam Williams (Floor Covering Instructor), Marty Brinson and Kelsey Biggs of Superior Carpet Installers, Wes Simpson and Chris Rainer of Blakley’s Flooring.

“As we were working on his home, Senkowski stopped by to visit. Every single installer walked over to him and shook his hand, thanking him for his service,” commented Thieme. “Knowing that we’re giving back to someone who has dedicated his entire life for our country and our freedom makes it all worthwhile.”

“Sacrifice…that’s what it’s all about. Whether it’s by donating a few hours to help a brother out or spending a weekend to positively impact the lives of our nation’s heroes,” commented Wes Simpson of Local 364. “The brotherhood of unions and veterans will always be there on the front lines to fight for what’s right. I was honored to help someone who sacrificed it all for our freedom.”

For more information, please contact Tim Thieme at tthieme@ikorcc.com