Ironworkers return to WCC for annual training

Published on Jul 16, 2017 9:44pm by Richard Rezler, Public Relations

Trade union brings hundreds of people, multi-million dollar impact to area

Ironworkers return to WCC for annual training

ANN ARBOR, Michigan (Monday, July 17) – The Ironworkers are back, bringing with them nearly 800 people to the state-of-the-art training facilities at Washtenaw Community College and an estimated economic impact of $5 million annually to Washtenaw County.

For the eighth consecutive year, the Ironworkers union – officially The International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers – are holding their instructor training program at WCC. The trade union signed a five-year contract in March 2015 to keep the annual event on the WCC campus.

WCC President Dr. Rose B. Bellanca says the support shared between the college and the Ironworkers “represents the value of a true partnership.”

“Literally thousands of Ironworkers have had their careers strengthened by what they learn by attending these training programs,” Bellanca said. “As the skilled trades gap continues to widen, the Ironworkers instructor training program is more vital than ever.”

This year’s training runs from Monday, July 17 to Friday, July 21 and will bring together apprenticeship coordinators, instructors, contractors, business managers, business agents and owners from across the United States and Canada. Attendees receive training in welding, structural steel erection, architectural and ornamental ironwork, concrete reinforcement, rigging and machinery moving and installation, as well as blueprint reading, computer skills and a number of other trade-related subjects

“We have a reputation for being the most skilled and highly trained workforce in the industry,” said Ironworkers International General President Eric Dean. “This training ensures we have the most qualified instructors, which allows us to in turn train our members and maintain that reputation.”

The Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti Marriott at Eagle Crest will host the event’s opening ceremony and serve as the headquarter hotel, although participants are guests at other local hotels and dormitories on the campus of the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University. The Washtenaw County Convention and Visitors Bureau provides hospitality services and events for the attendees.

“We are excited to once again welcome the hundreds of Ironworkers staff, instructors and skilled tradespeople to the greater Ann Arbor area,” said Mary Kerr, President and CEO of the Washtenaw County Convention and Visitors Bureau. "It has become a valued summertime tradition to showcase the state-of-the-art facilities and outstanding hospitality available throughout our community."

The Ironworkers first conducted their training program on the WCC campus in 2010 after holding the event in California the previous 25 years.

WCC’S Pre-Apprenticeship for Ironworkers Program

Washtenaw Community College doesn’t just host training for the Ironworkers. The college also helps students get into the trade.

Initiated by the relationship between the Ironworkers and WCC, the college will introduce a new pre-apprenticeship program for Ironworkers in September 2017. The certificate program will teach some of the skills needed to become a union Ironworker apprentice in their programs in the United States and Canada.

A combination of classroom and lab training at WCC provides results that come with real-world experience. The program includes blueprint reading, math, safety and welding training used by the union Ironworker trade.

Students who successfully complete the program will receive a certificate of completion and be eligible for advanced standing in the Ironworker Local Union Apprenticeship Training Program. The apprentices will then go on to become a journeyman Ironworker when they complete their apprenticeship.

To view the program description and courses, visit and search for CTPAIW.

Media contact: Susan Ferraro, 734-677-5295,

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