In January of 2017, District Council 30’s Joint Apprenticeship & Training Fund (JATF) unveiled the initial phase of a new industrial training mock-up for industrial apprentices starting enrollment this year. The complex steel structure will be used to supplement classroom learning, providing apprentices with an opportunity to train in job-like conditions.
Working with a structural engineer from Cordogan & Clark, CST Industries, Safespan, and Safeway, the JATF designed phase one of the industrial mock-up to replicate a 22,000 gallon storage tank. The storage tank was designed to simulate a variety of hands-on training scenarios, including rigging access, containment, blasting, painting, and confined space work. Plans were finalized and approved in the summer of 2016, and the first phase of assembly began later that fall.
“We were thrilled to unveil phase one of this project at the beginning of the year,” recalls Steve Lefaver, Director of Apprenticeship & Training for DC 30’s JATF. “We’ve found that mock-up structures of this nature keep students engaged in the curriculum and help our instructors better prepare students for the challenges faced on the job – especially on industrial job sites.”
The storage tank was erected by apprentices from Ironworkers Local 939 as a part of their required shop hours for apprenticeship. It took over two months to construct the tank. Students enrolled in the industrial painting curriculum began training on the tank shortly after the project was completed.
Moving forward, the JATF will continue working with the structural engineer to design phase two of the mock-up, which will consist of a section of a bridge. Through a partnership with Halverson Construction Company, the JATF was able to acquire portions of 100-year-old bridges in the area that were currently being pulled out of service. The JATF will repurpose these bridge columns to fabricate the bridge portion of the mock-up. Using this structure, apprentices will learn how to properly access, contain, prepare, and apply protective coatings.
The industrial bridge mock-up is expected to be completed this summer, before the JATF bridge course curriculum is scheduled to begin.
“A project like this is more than just an improvement to our training curriculum,” says Lefaver. “By investing in this project, District Council 30 and the JATF are making a tangible investment in the future of the industrial painting market that will enable our organization to increase market share and build capacity within the finishing trades.”
The development of this new industrial mock-up was the immediate result of a revised industrial apprenticeship curriculum and program standards, which the JATF launched late last year. Daniel Valdivia, a DC 30 journey worker with 15 years of experience in industrial painting, was hired to develop and lead the new program, and was integral in creating the concept designs for the new mock-up. Both elements of the complex steel structure will be accessible for training year-round, within the JATF’s 48,000 square foot open bay training facility.