IMI Cross Training Offers Members Opportunities
Journal: August - September 2002
BAC members can take advantage of IMI cross training programs at all stages of their careers. Cross training offers both craftworkers and contractors the potential to increase work opportunities.
“It’s an approach that has a lot to offer everyone,” says BAC President and IMI Co-Chair John J. Flynn. “Cross training in other crafts gives BAC members even more of an advantage in the marketplace, and offers another strategy for growing the union masonry sector. It’s also a good way for members to enrich their careers.”
For the beginning craftworker, cross training presents the full portfolio of BAC career choices. For journeyworkers, it offers exposure to new job opportunities like cement finishing, or new products like Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (AAC).
IMI offers cross-craft familiarization to all pre-job trainees at the National Training Center. During their 12-week program, they get exposure to BAC trades: brick/block, tile, terrazzo, stone, marble, pointing/cleaning/caulking, plastering, and cement work.
IMI’s National Training Center also complements Local BAC training programs. When cement work in his area pushed manpower needs to the limit, Local 4 New Jersey Business Manager Jerry Della Salla sent pre-job apprentices to IMI for a two-week cement familiarization course after their 12 weeks of basic training. “Every bit helps,” says Local 4 Apprentice Coordinator Bill DeRenzis. “We wish everyone would take advantage of it. Trainees really look forward to it, and they see other things that IMI offers. It’s prestigious to attend.”
The Center also accommodates specific requests for cross training or upgrading, like a recent refractory class. Another key focus is keeping up on new products, like AAC lightweight block. All levels of BAC members, from apprentices to instructors, have taken advantage of IMI’s AAC familiarization course. Local 4 Indiana/Kentucky apprentice coordinator Jim Crum gained the confidence to set up programs in his Local’s ten schools. “I also got a good feel and respect for the other parts of the trade,” he says.
IMI is in the process of expanding its cross training programs to better serve BAC Locals and contractors, says Apprenticeship and Training Director Steve Martini. “Familiarization in all the crafts is going to be the norm.”