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Washington County Career Center offers apprenticeship

MARIETTA — A change to the Washington County Career Center Building Technology program will allow students who undergo a five-month course to get a head start in apprenticeship as carpenters.

The course came about as the result of an agreement between the career center and two regional carpenters union groups.

“It’s not a new course, just a different curriculum for our Building Technology course, narrowed down,” said Tony Huffman, director of adult education at the career center.

Students who go through the course and pass the necessary exams have the chance to start as second-year or third-year apprentices with the carpenters union. The Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters and the West Virginia United Brotherhood of Carpenters signed on to the program.

“Both unions have said they expect to have work for thousands of carpenters over the next several years,” Huffman said.

The unions have provided the curriculum, Huffman said. The program, termed Career Connections, was developed by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters to give students a pathway into carpentry apprenticeship. The five-month, 720-hour course is intended to confer students with Level 3 commercial construction certification, which allows them to test into apprenticeship with the possibility of advanced standing.

Modern carpentry involves far more than sawing and hammering boards.

“We very rarely do wood framing anymore,” said Jeremy Welch of the Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky Regional Brotherhood of Carpenters. “Some places in Ohio still have some residential construction, but most of our work is commercial, like bridge work, scaffolding, industrial construction. We do everything from foundation to drapes, as we say.”

Welch said the union draws advanced apprentices from school all over its region, and it’s selective about who it takes.

The regional council covering the three states now has about 32,000 members, Welch said. The Marietta area has 256 members at any given time, he said.

Those who successfully test into apprenticeship can take a wide range of free training. The course starts Oct. 28 and ends in late March, just in time for the start of the construction season, Huffman said. Information on the course is available by calling the career center. The course description online sets the combined cost of tuition and supplies at about $7,500, but the training also is Pell Grant eligible.

Michael Kelly can be reached at mkelly@mariettatimes.com

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