WCC, Ann Arbor Area Welcomes Ironworkers for Annual Instructor Training Program

International trade union celebrating 10th anniversary at WCC, 35th overall.

For the 10th consecutive summer, the Ironworkers are back in Washtenaw County for their annual Instructor Training Program, bringing nearly 800 people to use the facilities at Washtenaw Community College and leave a significant economic impact on the surrounding area.


It’s the 35th anniversary overall for the train-the-trainer program that brings together union apprentice coordinators, instructors, contractors, business managers and owners from across the United States and Canada. The Ironworkers – officially the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers – held the program at various colleges in California for 25 years before moving operations to WCC in 2010.

“The staff and facilities at WCC have been a game-changer for the Ironworkers. We show up on campus and all we have to do is turn on the lights. The classrooms and weld shop are first-class and the community has welcomed us with open arms,” said Lee Worley, the union’s Executive Director of Apprenticeship & Training. “Our leadership in the 1980s carved a path to where we sit now, which is leading the construction world in producing the finest-trained ironworkers in the industry.”

WCC President Dr. Rose B. Bellanca called the college’s relationship with the Ironworkers “an exceptional partnership, and one we tremendously value.”

Bellanca added: “WCC and the Ironworkers share a profoundly important mission – the business of teaching and lifelong learning. As educators, we truly admire the Ironworkers’ drive to remain the best-equipped and skilled workforce in the world, while performing their job in the safest, most efficient manner possible.”

This year’s on-campus training runs from Monday, July 15 to Friday, July 19 and includes instruction in welding, structural steel erection, architectural and ornamental ironwork, concrete reinforcement, rigging and machinery moving and installation, as well as blueprint reading, computer skills and a number of other trade-related subjects taught inside classrooms and labs across the WCC campus.

Ironworkers General President Eric Dean, himself an apprentice instructor from 1989 to 1995, welcomed attendees during an opening session Sunday at the Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest, which serves as the program’s headquarters hotel. Participants are also guests at other local hotels and in dormitories on the campus of the University of Michigan. Destination Ann Arbor provides hospitality services and events for the attendees.

“Ten years into our partnership with the Ironworkers, we couldn’t be more excited for this year’s Instructor Training Program,” said Mary Kerr, President & CEO of Destination Ann Arbor. “It’s a tremendous privilege to welcome back almost 800 staff, instructors and skilled tradespeople annually in partnership with Washtenaw Community College – and we know that they’ll enjoy all the great attractions, dining and shopping that the Ann Arbor area has to offer.”

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

For more information about the Ironworkers, visit www.ironworkers.org

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