HARVEY, Mich. (WZMQ) – The Ironworkers Local 8 broke ground a new facility in Harvey on Thursday. It will be the only facility of its kind for ironworkers in the Upper Peninsula to train, and earn or renew necessary certifications. The Ironworkers new $5.5 million facility off M-28 will be a hub for Ironworkers and trades education in the U.P.
Local 8 business agent Tim Roman said the training center will have programs to train new apprentices, existing apprentices, journeyman upgrades, and to keep up with rigging, milling, and welding certifications, while also offering a 4 year apprentice curriculum. He says the new facility is an important part of educating the next generation of trades workers and keeping up with the rapidly evolving technology.
“I would say more of an indicator of what’s happening out there is the need for construction workers.” Roman said, “There’s high demand in those jobs.”
A similar facility, The Union Carpenters and Millwrights Skilled Training Center, opened in Negaunee Township back in 2021. The Council of Carpenters regional director, Brian Kerrigan, said the training centers create visibility for what’s new in trades, which is an important factor in drawing interest from new students.
“The industry never stops changing.” Kerrigan said. “The process, the tools, the equipment, the materials used in construction.”
With projects like the new Sault Lock, proposals for new mines, and renovations to factories in Escanaba, there’s an increased need for skilled workers. Kerrigan said it’s more important than ever to keep students interested in the trades and keep them working on projects in their own communities.
“These facilities open the door for that network,” Kerrigan said. “A network of community folks, of educators, of employers to keep people in our state, and to keep them in our community.”
Workers will start setting the foundation for the facility in September, and local 8 hopes to welcome its first students in the spring of 2024.