The Job of IMI is Jobs
Journal: November - December 2005
Our focus at IMI is jobs, International Masonry Institute President Joan Calambokidis told delegates in reporting on the innovative strategies IMI is pursuing to create new work opportunities for BAC members and business opportunities for contractors.
Calambokidis explained how IMI’s efforts are aligned with the new strategic direction forged by the Millennium Morning Project (MMP). The MMP report, she said, “made clear that organizing alone, without a strategy for building market share and retaining workers, would not allow the Union to grow enough to ensure its longterm survival.”
IMI’s goal is to fill that need by expanding the unionized masonry industry’s market share through a variety of valuable programs. First and foremost is BAC’s and IMI’s world-class training, which Calambokidis described as one of BAC’s most important organizing tools. Increasingly, non-union masonry contractors are signing with BAC as a result of IMI and BAC outreach and training programs, she explained.
Calambokidis also discussed how the new state-of-the-art BAC/IMI National Training Center, under construction in Maryland, “is going to be a truly incredible legacy that you can pass on to future generations of BAC members.”
Another advance, coming out of the MMP report, is IMI’s Training Management System, an Internet-based database that can track apprentices’ and members’ training throughout their careers. “This is not only important in terms of manpower identification for specific job needs,” she said, “but it also provides critical information that will allow you and your Local to forecast future apprentice needs based on retirements.”
IMI also has a successful marketing program that involves project tracking, radio and print ads, and participation in trade shows and seminars, which alone have reached over 12,000 designers each year since 2000.
These efforts have paid off with architects, and now IMI is devoting more resources to educating construction managers about “how masonry can work to their advantage in addressing project demands as well as their bottom line,” she said. In addition, IMI runs Contractor College to ensure that employers can bid on and produce the jobs IMI is promoting.
“When BAC and IMI work together,” Calambokidis concluded, “not only will our heritage be well represented, but our future is very likely to be filled with innovation and, most importantly, jobs for many years to come.”