IMG_0440croppedBy Jeff Rodenberg, Director of TIC's Craft Training Center Many contractors find it difficult to incorporate training into their project schedules. This is the primary reason why, for two decades, TIC has offered academy-style training for our apprentices. Once a year, we bring apprentices from jobsites all over the country to our training center in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, for a three-week block. This works better for us than the more traditional year-round, on-site training that lasts a few hours each week. It is an experience that the apprentices really look forward to, and it allows us to provide them with the 150 hours of formalized training they need each year. Superintendents on project sites are accustomed to the three-week training model and know they will be without their apprentices during that time. About half of the superintendents were TIC apprentices once, so they understand their apprentices will return to them better than before they left. Many of our former apprentices have gone on to become general foreman, superintendents and project managers in the company. Denver Training CenterIt costs about $12,000 to bring someone in for three weeks – including wages, per diem, travel and lodging. As a company we think it is a wise investment. Coming to the training center allows apprentices to get away from the jobsite distractions and concentrate on learning. There are two major factors that make our academy-style program successful:
  1. We have a dedicated facility with full-time, dedicated staff
  2. We have management support from the president on down. Our executives and jobsite managers all agree that training our craft is critical, and an academy-style program works best for TIC.
We love to get our people into the apprentice program early in their career—within the first three to six months—because it allows them to learn all of the classroom and technical skills that they will need as they progress from laborer to helper to journeyman. We also bring in more experienced craftsmen to attend the higher-level classes for skills upgrade training. Participation chartThis year, we have taught more than 500 apprentices throughout 68 training sessions. Most of our first-year classes have 12-14 attendees. Our third- and fourth-year classes usually have 6-10 attendees. In total, we have trained approximately 5,500 apprentices since the training center opened in 1991. This has been a huge success for us, which is why we plan to build a new training facility in Denver that will feature 64,000 square feet of classrooms and labs and more than 800,000 square-feet of outdoor teaching space. While there are various styles of training to choose from, we are very pleased with the success of our academy-style training, and I encourage other contractors to consider it as an option for their apprentices.

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NCCER develops standardized construction and maintenance curricula and assessments with portable credentials. These credentials are tracked through NCCER’s National Registry which allows organizations and companies to track the qualifications of their craft professionals and/or check the qualifications of possible new hires. The National Registry also assists craft professionals by maintaining their records in a secure database.