Cornerstone of the Future: The BAC/IMI National Training Center
Journal: Issue 1 - 2006
What does the future hold for union construction? As employers and unions face increasingly tough choices and challenges, the most successful know that it is not enough to talk about the union training advantage – they have to prove it. And they are doing so with flagship training centers that establish them as industry leaders, with a distinct advantage over other organizations.
That is the point of the new BAC/IMI National Training Center now under construction and due for completion in early 2007. Having what President John J. Flynn calls “BAC University” serves two critical goals: more services for BAC members and Locals, and a stronger position against competing materials, trades, and the non-union sector.
“The goal is not to replace Local training programs, but to reinforce them,” says Flynn. The National Center will offer a wide variety of craft training programs and trainer assistance that enhances Local efforts. And, by offering training in every craft throughout the year, it avoids the tough choices that even the largest Locals have to make about which training to offer when.
The new 15-acre campus, with a 61,000-square-foot Training Center and a 45,500-square-foot main building with offices and dormitories, is literally a showcase for all the masonry crafts, which are represented in the building and campus. Its location between Washington D.C. and Baltimore offers greater travel convenience for visitors and higher national visibility.
Naming the Training Center building was granted to the members and contractors of Local 1 Maryland/Virginia/District of Columbia and Local 5 Pennsylvania along with the Mason Contractors Association of Central Pennsylvania for their donation of $500,000. In return for their contribution of $750,000, the Mason Contractors of New Jersey and Locals 4 and 5 New Jersey will name the dormitory building.
The Center will also be a showcase for all the programs that distinguish BAC as an industry innovator, and that demonstrate the superior skills of BAC craftworkers. These include:
Consolidating these programs on one campus provides the opportunity to expand them as needed to reach wider audiences with the union masonry message. With the popular Masonry Camp, for example, BAC can reach beyond design students to professionals such as architects and construction managers. Educational programs like Supervisor Certification can be offered to greater numbers of BAC members, and tailored to member-specific needs, such as restoration.
“It is all about building a stronger BAC,” says President Flynn. “We find that the best way to bring in new members is through training. We have to really grow our apprentice programs, and the new National Training Center is a big part of that.”