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Career Connections: Pipefitting And Plumbing

5 minutes

My name's Chris Weaver. I'm training director here at Piping Industry Training Center, Local 50. At the training center, we have about 150 apprentices. They go through a five-year apprenticeship program in a couple of different disciplines: plumbing, pipefitting, welding, and HVAC. And for the entire five years, we train those apprentices to do some disciplines out in the field. At the end of their five years, they become journeypersons and can work in any of 350 locals around the United States and Canada. In years past, people got the wrong impression that field mechanics had to be big, hulking, maybe not so bright people. And I have some four-year college graduates that come in here and excel and actually like that work because they work with their hands and see the fruits of their labors. The perspective of the people that we use is different than what it used to be. What we find to be a constant for us, when we talk to people, is that these are all high in-demand jobs that a lot of people aren't looking to do. A lot of parents and a lot of high school guidance counselors like to head people towards higher education. Higher education is great and it's meant for some people. For others, it's not. These jobs are in demand because we find that people don't consider the trades because they don't know what things we do, or if they're qualified, or if they'd like it. We find them a job and send them to work for a contractor in the field. The money they start out making, right now, is around $17 an hour to start. After the completion of their apprenticeship, in 2015, our guys, salary-wise, make just short of $40 an hour. So, on a typical 2,000-hour job, which would be a 40-hour times 50-week job, it's about $80,000 a year. That's baseline money. Some of the things that we really need from prospective applicants who will be working in the field is good problem-solving skills, where they look at a situation and decide what has to happen to get it to its completion. It's also incumbent upon a new applicant to have good math skills. They can get involved in their math classes, even though our math-- the trade math-- is a little different than basic math, because there are angles and things that we do. But specific training, as far as paying attention to volumes and weights of things, are always helpful. In the high schools, there are also opportunities a lot of times to do some work outside of the schools. There are community service projects. Sometimes visiting those community service projects-- a lot of times, there's opportunities for young people to go out there and pitch in and see how we do things, how we build things. It's not typical to understand a building's construction-- push a button at a drinking fountain and expect water to be there. It gets there somehow, and it's done by our qualified mechanics. We say the plumber protects the health of the nation, because we supply good drinking water. We make sure wastewater exits the building. These things aren't magic. They're done by people like me in the field.

Funding to purchase and make this educational production accessible was provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

PH:1-800-USA-LEARN (V) or WEB: www.ed.gov.

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Listen as plumbing and pipefitting instructors share with students about the academic requirements and career benefits of a commercial plumber and pipefitter. Part of the "Career Connections" series.

Media Details

Runtime: 5 minutes

Career Connections
Episode 1
5 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 2
6 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 3
3 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 4
5 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 5
5 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 6
4 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 7
7 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 8
7 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 9
6 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 10
6 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12