Training News
 

Training for Current and Future Opportunities:

A Day in the Life of the Flynn Center

Journal: Issue 2 - 2009

BAC members just starting their careers, like Jeremy Fike of Local 5 PA, get an intensive education in their chosen craft, and a lot more.

What exactly happens at the John J. Flynn BAC/IMI International Training Center? The short answer is “start-to-finish” career training. The Flynn Center’s programs offer lifelong learning opportunities to all BAC members, from pre-job apprentices just starting out to long-time craftworkers who want to brush up on their skills, increase their marketability, or even branch out into teaching.

One of the Flynn Center’s most distinctive and successful approaches is the pre-job apprentice program, which is offered for all crafts—brick, tile, PCC, stone, marble, terrazzo, cement and plaster. Without jobsite and schedule distractions, participants gain an intensive education in their chosen field from dedicated instructors who know both their craft and how to teach it best. They also learn safe work practices, jobsite protocols and union principles.

Getting ahead of industry trends with specialized training like this hazardous waste class “makes sure that our members are better trained than others,” says Ren Engelhardt (not pictured) of Local 5 NJ. From left are Mike Sullivan and Jason Laverty of Local 1 MA/VT, Charles Angelus of Local 1 PA/DE, and Mike Needham of Local 3 NY.
Even longtime foremen like Jose Bugallo of Local 1 MD/VA/DC, at right, with Gary Rosser of Local 44 OH, learn something new from classes like OSHA 500. “I want to keep my company safe and improve myself,” says Bugallo. “It’s good to refresh.”

Working apprentices use the center to boost their skills and fulfill certain related training requirements with courses like the OSHA 30-Hour class, blueprint reading and basic math skills.

Journey-level members have a wide range of continuing education courses from which to choose. On any given day, members of Locals and Administrative District Councils from all over the U.S. and Canada can be found taking advantage of familiarization or upgrade courses in terrazzo, tile, PCC, and other crafts, or customized sessions that respond to market or job-specific demands, such as refractory skills or JAHN restoration mortars certification. Even when the Center is humming with all the other programs, it can quickly respond to specialized requests. When Local 1 Connecticut signed some new tile members, they sent them to the Center to brush up their mud skills.

Third generation Local 3 MA/ME/NH member Damien Rizzi, center, found the first year of the Instructor Certification Program intimidating, but now appreciates how it made him a better teacher. “ICP really gives you a boost,” agrees James Pimental, left, pictured here with Rizzi and John Yeo. All three Local 3 members graduated in 2008.

Locals and ADCs also use the Center to expand their local training programs by having select members attend train-the-trainer courses, which enable them to deliver programs to their membership. Classes in OSHA 500, mine safety rules and grout certification help keep members employable, especially when jobs require specific credentials. The ultimate train-the-trainer regimen is IMI’s Instructor Certification Program, which covers everything in the BAC arsenal, including how to be an effective teacher.

Whatever level participants come for, one absolute is Safety and Health training. Classes range from a basic OSHA 10-Hour course all the way to specialized courses on hazardous waste, including one for handling PCBs in caulking.

Whether a Local is an hour or a day away, the Flynn Center has plenty to offer.

Classes in specialized applications like JAHN are popular “because they teach you the right way,” says Local 5 PA member James Babbish.

Just ask Lewis Houghtaling, President of DeBrino Caulking Associates in Castleton, NY. Working with Local 2 New York, the firm uses the Flynn Center to ensure a quality workforce. The training they get at the “impressive” facility helps not only to win bids and control costs, but also to recruit top talent, says Houghtaling. “It makes a big difference.”

 

 

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