Pre-apprentice student workers visit Local 149

Aug 07, 2019
Visit to Local 149 image

High school students from the F&S pre-apprenticeship work program enjoyed a trip to the UA Local 149 Plumbers and Pipefitters union hall to meet Local 149, along with Roofers Local 97 and Plasterers and Cement Masons Local 143.

These students have spent this summer in a first-year work program to study the skilled-trades and facility management industry under the supervision of F&S experts. At the Local 149 hall, these local students from diverse backgrounds learned about the importance of the relationship between the university and unions, and met with members who recounted their time in Local 149.

Students met with Kevin Sage, the union business agent for Local 149; Darrell Harrison, business manager for Local 97; and Chris Butler, business manager for Local 143.

“A career in a union develops a great job skill that pays well and will provide a good standard of living,” said Dave Boehm, associate director for Operations, Maintenance, & Alterations, Building Maintenance. “It is a challenging process that requires hard work and going to school at the same time. You earn as you learn.”

The pre-apprentice program helps F&S fulfill a strategic objective of promoting a diverse and inclusive workforce by recruiting from local high schools and programs with an emphasis on underserved populations and hiring student interns and recent graduates. F&S’ pre-apprenticeship program aims to strengthen relationships within the local community, to address the growing need for more skilled-trade workers, and to prepare interested individuals for non-degree employment opportunities through training, recruitment and retention, and long-term succession planning.

“Local 149 thinks it is important to host these pre-apprentice interns because we have a shortage of tradespeople, especially diverse candidates,” said Sage. “Any opportunity to teach students about the trades and get them excited about a great career within a union is invaluable to all.”

F&S reestablished its relationship with the union originally in June when F&S signed a memorandum of understanding with Local 149 that brings apprentices to the Urbana campus to gain experience and help meet service work and construction needs of the university.