Special to North Carolina Construction News
Steel Erectors Association of America (SEAA), headquarters in Winston-Salem, NC, has announced plans to establish a regional network of training and testing centers for ironworkers. The centers will be operated by SEAA member companies.
“This initiative builds on the high-quality ironworker craft training curriculum the association developed several years ago in partnership with NCCER(National Center for Construction Education and Research) and expands its availability to a wider marketplace,” said SEAA executive director Tom Underhill.
NCCER assists organizations with implementing workforce development programs. As an accrediting body, NCCER establishes benchmarks for quality training and assessments. NCCER has approved SEAA’s plans as meeting National Craft Assessment and Certification Program performance verifications. SEAA member training or testing centers must meet the same performance guidelines. SEAA will be responsible for auditing the centers in the first year, and then again once every three years.
Currently, SEAA has confirmed training and testing centers in the Northeast, Southeast, South Central, and Rocky Mountain regions. The association hopes to establish three additional centers in the Midwest, Southwest, and West by the end of 2014. The first training and testing centers include the following companies:
- S&R Enterprises, Harrisburg, Pa.
- Buckner Companies, Graham, N.C.
- Cooper Steel, Shelbyville, Tenn.
- LPR Construction, Loveland, Colo.
The goal of this program is to make training more accessible to the industry, and to ultimately fill the labor pool with a greater number of qualified Ironworkers, which only goes to benefit the entire industry,” said Eddie Williams, chairman of the board, Buckner Companies, Graham, N.C.In addition to offering the industry a choice for qualifying ironworkers, SEAA’s network of training and testing centers will provide the following benefits:
- Industry-recognized credentials.
- Consistent instruction, regardless of location or company providing the training.
- Solution to address the Ironworker labor shortage.;”>Lower turnover rates and reduced absenteeism
- Less re-work and improved productivity.
The ironworker craft training curriculum is available for Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 ironworkers. Training and testing will be provided in a variety of formats, including online, classroom, and on the job. Performance verification assessment measures skill obtained during training.
“This is competency based material, requiring written and practical assessment of skill,” explained Tim Eldridge of Education Services Unlimited and curriculum consultant to SEAA. “Hands-on performance evaluation is required for each module of the curriculum. Successful completion of both parts of assessment earns the candidate NCCER Certified Plus credentials.”
“While it costs several thousand dollars to get started, the return on investment is ten-fold,” said SEAA president Steve Burkholder. Startup costs include training, curriculum materials, facility, tools, and equipment. “In the long-term, SEAA hopes to obtain grants and corporate sponsors to help fund the purchase of specialty equipment or facilities, such as portable weld trailers or durable computerized training boxes, that would be available to all SEAA members,” said Burkholder.