I toured the training facilities in Tualatin of the Plumbers and Steamfitters Union Local 290 today. I was very impressed with the organization and training offerings, and especially with the level of technology use in today's hands-on trades. It was also great to see art in almost every classroom and corridor.
Apprentices enter the program with a high school diploma or GED including a year of algebra, and start at about $15/hour, rising to $37/hour for qualified journeymen at the end of the course. Most of the work week is spent on the job site learning from skilled workers, with supplementary classroom hours.
Local 290 provides free classes for students in the Tigard-Tualatin School District, and would like to expand this program to other school districts. It's crucial that students in middle and high schools see the practical application of subjects like math, and also that they are made aware of the many career options opened by following the apprenticeship program .... if they stick to their studies and graduate from high school.
At the events on Thursday, Intel Corporation was represented by Regional Government Affairs Manager Morgan Anderson, and the company was celebrated at the tour and holiday lunch since their multimillion-dollar expansion is providing hundreds of jobs in the trades. Local 290 also has a special relationship with the Portland Winterhawks, which adds to members' satisfaction with the upcoming work on repairs, maintenance and upgrades to the Memorial Coliseum recently approved by Council with my support.
It was wonderful to see the justified pride and satisfaction in their work of John Endicott, Business Manager, who led the tour, and Jed Scheuermann, Assistant Training Coordinator. At the holiday lunch, an event I've attended every year since taking office, I sat with Agent Ron Woods from Eugene. He gave thoughtful perspectives on multiple issues. I also talked again with Ron Murray, a retired member of the Union who recently took a Constituent Slot in my office to give me information about his current passion of humane treatment of dogs in shelters. I love it when multiple interests converge in my life.
Thank you, Local 290, for the education you provided to me today, and for the ongoing excellent training you provide to ensure good jobs in steam and air conditioning technology, drafting, pipefitting and plumbing, and great safe service for the people of Oregon. Click here for Local 290's information for non-members, including a Top Ten list of why everyone should choose Union workers for pipefitting and plumbing jobs.