Illinois District Council 1 Training Center Opens
Journal: OCTOBER - NOVEMBER 2002
The performance of masonry materials relies on the skills of those who install it. Since 1970, BAC and IMI have worked to ensure quality construction by enhancing the skills that make BAC members ‘the best hands in the business.’ Over the years, IMI has expanded its scope, but it continues to devote most of its resources to training masonry craftworkers. BAC’s and IMI’s ongoing commitment to training is clearly evident at the District Council No. 1 of Illinois’ new Training Center (DCTC) in Addison, a western suburb of Chicago.
Pete Marinopoulos, President of District Council 1 IL, says, “The training of apprentices is the lifeblood of our trade, providing assurance that BAC craftworkers keep up with the fundamentals and progressive demands of the bricklaying trade.”
Five training centers in the Chicago area currently turn out apprentices and upgrade the skills of journey-level craftworkers. These workers will ultimately be responsible for the masonry construction of nearly all of Northeast Illinois’ commercial, institutional, industrial, and multifamily residential buildings, and much of the single-family housing market.
The new DCTC is BAC’s largest multi-local training center, and represents the culmination of years of planning by Chicagoland BAC Locals and signatory contractors. In December 1998, the DCTC Fund was established to locate a centralized training facility and develop training programs. In May 2001 Locals 14, 20, 21, 27, 56, and 74 Illinois agreed to merge their apprenticeship and training funds into the DCTC Fund. One month later, journeyman bricklayer and IMI instructor Bob Arnold was hired as the Center’s Administrator. The DCTC took occupancy of the new Addison facility earlier this year, and the first pre-job class graduated in July 2002.
The DCTC campus is an impressive 34,400 square feet on 41/2 acres, with 8,000 square feet of classroom, office space, and a lecture hall. The Center even boasts a masonry “laboratory” — a converted industrial building with 24-foot ceilings and two fully enclosed loading docks and elevators, which provide easy access when materials and equipment are delivered. More important, the lab is where the apprentices actually work with brick, concrete block, AAC, stone, marble, and plaster. The facility also contains 19 newly constructed state-of-the-art welding booths to train members in this important skill. In addition to craft training, the DCTC will host architectural workshops and seminars organized by IMI.
The DCTC will utilize online education to supplement classroom and hands-on learning. Under development are interactive courses via the Internet, which will provide trainees with access to online lectures and interaction with peers, instructors, and industry leaders. The DCTC is currently pursuing accreditation agreements with educational institutions in the nine-county area.
“The rewards of Union apprenticeship training are the good wages and benefits you receive as a skilled craftworker,” says DCTC Director Bob Arnold. “Apprentices trained at the DCTC will have the protection of a union contract, with insurance, pension and health and welfare benefits. We are proud to be training the BAC craftworkers of tomorrow.”
For more information on the DCTC, visit www.bac2school.org.