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International Operating Engineer - Fall 2018

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The quarterly magazine of the International Union of Operating Engineers

Training & Education

Training & Education Local 66 Encourages Kids to ‘Dig In!’ IUOE LOCAL 66 has partnered with Simcoach Games to develop free game apps that simulate operating heavy equipment as tools for educating and recruiting potential apprentice operators. The gaming company, also based in Pittsburgh, developed “Dig in: An Excavator Game” and “Dig In: A Dozer Game” for the local. They introduced their first game, “Hook: A Tower Crane Game” last year. “We’re trying to educate kids who are in middle school according to industry officials. Kunz said Local 66 has 375 apprentices — the most ever — going through its training center in New Alexandria. He said pending Baby Boomer retirements and a need for construction workers is driving the influx. Apprentices are in the program for four years and receive paid classroom and on-the-job training. They’ll can earn as much as per hour working after they graduate, Kunz said. International Union of Operating Engineers 2019 Construction Training Course Schedule - General Membership - Location: International Training Center — Crosby, Texas and maybe even a little earlier just to let people, and especially the kids, know there are good, long lasting careers in the construction industry,” said Jim Kunz, International Vice President and Local 66 Business Manager. “We realized that we had to find other ways to communicate with the generation that doesn’t communicate in the ways that we used to in the past.” The games are available as free downloads in the main app stores. Players move dirt, dig holes and make lifts using their thumbs to control the “joy sticks” through varying levels of proficiency and difficulty. They also receive messages connecting them to real life apprenticeship opportunities. With construction booming throughout Western Pennsylvania, union locals are advertising on television, radio and social media in an attempt to attract candidates, 8 INTERNATIONAL OPERATING ENGINEER Tom Melcher, business manager of the Pittsburgh Regional Building and Construction Trades Council, said all building trade apprenticeships are operating at full capacity. “To be quite honest with you, every apprenticeship program right now is just overwhelmed,” he said. “There’s so much work out there. Every apprenticeship school right now is recruiting heavily.” The unemployment rate in Southwestern Pennsylvania hit its lowest rate on record in May at 3.9 percent and union officials say more work is on the horizon. Melcher said thousands will find jobs building the Shell petrochemical plant underway in Beaver County and Pittsburgh is booming with new buildings. Jessica Trybus, chief games officer for Simcoach Games, said the company specializes in developing apps for workforce development and career awareness. “The idea is really to even have a small game that’s fun and engages someone into possibilities. That can be for an industry, an occupation or a very specific skill set,” she said. [article] The following was excerpted and edited for space from Read the full text at: Schedules may be revised periodically as new courses are added. Check for updates. FALL 2018 9

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