Accessing Joint Funds International Training Institute The ITI offers cirriculum development, training support, funding, and expertise so labor management partnerships can flourish. By / Jessica Kirby
A successful partnership is like an abundant spring garden— you get out what you put into it. In the case of jointly funded programs, SMACNA and SMART are contributing time, energy, and funds into ensuring a gold mine of ideas, services, and resources that can play an important role in keeping labormanagement partnerships running smoothly. For a partnership to be successful, using every available tool is critical. The 2018 Partners in Progress Conference hosted a panel session on making use of joint funds, what is available, and how to access the resources available through the ITI (International Training Institute), NEMI (National Energy Management Institute), SMOHIT (Sheet Metal Occupational Health Institute Trust), and PINP (Partners in Progress). Presenters from each organization placed special emphasis on how jointly funded resources can assist labor and management in becoming more successful in growing market share and managing the workforce. International Training Institute (ITI) Administrator Jim Page says the ITI's mission is to provide quality training programs to expand the workforce's skills. Page told participants at the 2018 Partners in Progress Conference that the ITI provides curriculum development and training resources for the welding and industrial, BIM, testing and balancing, and architectural and ornamental sectors, and getting involved in a local JATC can help offer the exact training a contractor needs to be competitive. “The ITI provides JATCs with curriculum development, instructor training, accreditation, mentoring, welding compliance, and annual audits,” Page says. “It also helps develop custom solutions that ensure training on the local levels is matched to regional needs and that training is targeted. We provide field staff with expertise in these areas, and we ensure that JATCs have access to national resources.” 10 » Partners in Progress » www.pinp.org
Fifth period apprentices are tested on the Blueprint Reading and Specifications curriculum. Photo courtesy of San Diego JATC.
Examples of ways contractors and the workforce have accessed ITI resources are abundant across the United States. In 2017, Local 23 in Anchorage was offering service technician training that was on par with the rest of the United States, but not necessarily a fit for local contractors. “First- and second-year apprentices didn’t know enough to go out in the truck, on jobs, alone, but contractors couldn’t afford to pay a journeyperson to go with them,” says Bruce Bold, training coordinator for Local 23. “For those one-man jobs, contractors were losing money on apprentices. Service is a different beast. You have to have a pretty qualified person right from the start.” Bold and the contractors looked to the training coordinators at Local 66 in Washington and to Darrell Garrison, field staff and service specialist with the ITI, for help. Together, the group rewrote the service technician apprenticeship program to meet regional needs, front-loading it with the skills contractors requested at the beginning of training. For instance, first-year apprentices attend a five-week electrical class and a five-week refrigeration class as well as training in customer service. That meant schooling doubled in the first two years, but less time was required in the third and fourth years, and all classes now take place in the off-season when contractors are in a slow period. The result was good feedback and increased interest from contractors, Bold says. “That’s the coolest part about putting this program together is the input. I haven’t had an out-of-work service tech apprentice in a long time.” Chris Caricato, training director at the JATC in San Diego, has focused ITI assistance on keeping the workforce ahead in the technology game. The JATC has implemented a number of new