United Association returns to Washtenaw Community College for 30th year

Trade union’s renowned Instructor Training Program brings more than 3,000 people and $8 million economic impact to Washtenaw County

For the 30th consecutive summer, the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry (UA) is back on the Washtenaw Community College campus for its Instructor Training Program.

A record number of more than 2,040 registered United Association students are filling college classrooms across campus during what would otherwise be a three-week quiet time before the Fall 2019 semester starts on August 26. Add in instructors, UA staff and industry representatives and total attendance is expected to eclipse more than 3,000. That translates to an estimated $8 million boost to the local economy, according to a recent study commissioned by Destination Ann Arbor.

“We want to thank the United Association for continuing to bring its renowned Instructor Training Program to our campus and our community,” said WCC President Dr. Rose B. Bellanca. “Everybody at the college is always so impressed by the UA’s commitment to training and educating the next generation of leaders in the skilled trades. I think our partnership is so strong because the UA has made the same commitment our college has made – a commitment to lifelong learning.”

The annual train-the-trainer program started Saturday, Aug. 10 and runs through Friday, Aug. 16. This is the 66th annual event. It moved to WCC from Purdue University in 1990.

“The United Association is the leading building trades union in North America and much of the reason for that is our training. We invest more than $250 million in training each year, and the Instructor Training Program at Washtenaw Community College is the flagship in that effort,” said UA General President Mark McManus. “We value our relationship with the college and look forward to continuing our tradition of excellence in education.”

More than 120 classes are offered during the training, including at least 20 new ones annually. The UA is continually developing courses to keep up with the latest technology available in all of the union’s skilled trades — plumbers, pipefitters, sprinkler fitters, service technicians and welders. Instructors are exposed to the latest teaching methodology, which they will share with the more than 355,000 local members across the United States and Canada.

“It’s great to be back in Michigan for our 30th year. The welcome we receive from the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti area contributes to making this program a success,” said UA Director of Education and Training Jim Pavesic. “This year we are at record numbers of participants and we are looking forward to continuing our role of preparing new generations of highly skilled and dedicated UA tradespeople.”

The community is invited to participate in a number of events during UA Week, including:

  • The annual UA Block Party, from 6-10 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 12. Sponsored by Destination Ann Arbor, downtown Ann Arbor restaurants will offer dining on the sidewalks and in the streets. Music is provided by The Milwaukee Tool Shed Band.
  • UA Plumbers & Pipe Fitters 5K and Pub Crawl, 6:45 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 12. Held in downtown Ann Arbor. This event has raised more than $420,000 for the Semper Fi Fund since its inception. Registration and more information available at com.
  • Industry Day, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 14. An exclusive event for industry stakeholders held on the grounds and parking lots around the Occupational Education Building on the WCC campus, as well as throughout the campus. Check out the latest technology from various vendors, watch UA apprentices compete for national titles and tour the UA’s state-of-the-art training trailers.

While this is the week UA is most evident on campus and in the community, the Instructor Training Program is only a portion of its year-round partnership with WCC. In 2003, the UA established a permanent presence with the opening of the 15,500-square-foot Great Lakes Regional Training Center, which hosts year-round courses and serves as the hub of the union’s distance learning operation.

The college offers UA University @ WCC, a specialized learning opportunity that allows UA members to build upon their trade-related experience and apprenticeships while pursuing certificates and associate degree programs specifically designed for the union.

UA is the third international trade union to hold its instructor training program at WCC this summer. The Operative Plasterers and Cement Masons International Association (OPCMIA) brought nearly 100 instructors to its training on June 24-28. The International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Union (Ironworkers) returned to campus for the 10th consecutive year, bringing more than 800 people from across North America to campus on July 16-20.


For more information about the United Association, visit ua.org

For more information about Washtenaw Community College, visit wccnet.edu

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