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International Operating Engineer - Summer 2017

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The quarterly magazine of the International Union of Operating Engineers.

Education & Training

Education & Training Value on Display at Local 926 Training Facility Union promotes apprenticeship and state workforce partnership guests, which included federal and state elected officials, contractors and industry representatives, who came to hear the apprentices’ stories and watch them demonstrate some of the skills they are mastering. “Some people end up going through career changes in life. Things happen. Or you get out of high school and you realize that college is not the thing for you. So we offer the other four-year degree, as we like to say in the building trades. The Operating Engineers provide a real career instead of just a job opportunity,” Byrd explained. Georgia State House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams expressed her admiration for what Local 926 has been doing for her state. “I think that the role that the Operating Engineers play is an example of what we need to be doing across the state, which is training workers every single day to take the jobs that are available,” Abrams said. [above] Apprentice Theus Dillon demonstrates simulator training to a group of dignitaries attending the Local 926 open house in June. [opposite page] Apprentice Jamie Kephart receives direction while getting the feel of the Local’s new John Deere 650K Bulldozer. THE WORK IN Georgia is growing fast and with that comes the challenge to develop Operating Engineers who can efficiently operate and maintain equipment. The comprehensive knowledge of mechanic skills, along with hands-on operations gained during apprenticeship training, is at the heart of Local 926’s Joint Apprenticeship & Skill Improvement Program. Recently, Local 926 developed a relationship with Workforce Innovation & Opportunity (WIOA) programs across the state of Georgia. This partnership is helping to bridge the skills gaps and aiding in the start of careers, which in turn launch individuals and families into the middle-class. WIOA, a federally funded program that encourages and supports the training of eligible adults, increases the quality of the workforce, while advocating the reduction of welfare dependency. On a bright June morning, Local 926 hosted an open house to showcase and promote this new partnership by featuring a group of current apprentices. “We actually had to pay our water bill, and that was next door to the Workforce Program. My wife happened to see the pamphlet for the Operating Engineer program. She signed me up. Then I got an email basically saying come in for training. It’s a weird story, but that’s how I got into this line of work,” explained Apprentice Theus Dillon. Each Apprentice on hand at the open house had a different story of how they found their way to the Operating Engineers, but they were eager to share how much better their future prospects look, now that they are on a path to a real career. Local 926 Business Manager Mitch Byrd welcomed the assembled “We don’t have a labor shortage in Georgia. We have a skilled shortage, and this is the kind of place that solves that skill shortage and makes it possible for folks to take care of their families and build the state, and so I just wanted to make sure I came today to say thank you for the work you do. Thank you for the service you give to Georgia,” Minority Leader Abrams said to the assembled crowd. As the program concluded, guests toured the training site, observing the apprentices as they maneuvered a mobile crane, excavator and the Local’s brand new dozer. “I think my career outlook right now is very bright. I know the path that I’m embarking on. I know what I want to do with my future. I know basically who I’m becoming as a man, as a father, and what I need to do to take care of my family,” Apprentice Dillon explained after finishing a session on the Local’s simulator. 8 INTERNATIONAL OPERATING ENGINEER SUMMER 2017 9

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