News

News

Local 551's new office at this location is also open! Retired member Jimmy Morales was the first to pay dues at the new offices. He's here with BA Terry Darling and Admin Asst. Summer Hickey

New Pasadena, Texas Training Center is Open for Business
1/18/2018

In the Texas industrial and petro-chemical industry, it’s tough to turn a page or scroll a screen without seeing grave warnings about skilled labor shortages that could cripple this booming market. The best-kept secret affecting this situation is that there is a solution to this problem. In fact, the lack of skilled, safe craftsmen is not just being addressed – it’s being solved with a realistic solution.

A brand new, 52,000 square foot, state-of-the-art training center is built and open for business in Pasadena. This facility exists to specifically cater to the needs of the industrial and petro-chem industry. The Houston Carpenters & Millwrights Training Center, at 5500 Spencer Highway, is minutes from the hub of activity in these industries. Training there is already producing elite professionals who are directly reducing the skilled manpower shortage with strong safety, technical, and jobsite leadership skills.

“We’ve created a hub in the heart of the industry’s footprint that gives contractors excellent scaffolding and carpentry crews as quickly and for as long as they are needed,” said Jason Engels, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of Central South Carpenters.

Local 551's Executive Board leads the group's first Local meeting at the new Pasadena facility

The CSCRC represents thousands of carpenters in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. Its largest concentration of manpower is found in Texas. These carpenters are known for their positive and teamwork-oriented attitude.

“Special training and on-the-job mentoring gives these men and women the knowledge and competency to meet any project schedule, budget, or circumstance with a mix of in-demand skills and professionalism,” said Paul Jones, Executive Director of the Texas Carpenters & Millwrights Trust Fund, which built the sprawling facility.

“Our affiliation with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC) gives us access to the Carpenters International Training Fund (CITF), where North America’s construction experts gather to create the curriculum that our men and women learn from right here in Texas,” Jones added.

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SAFETY TRAINING IS THE TOP PRIORITY

Partner contractors have a deep supply of experienced crews who are trained and experienced in making safety a top priority. Safety training is done in partnership with OSHA. Training includes OSHA 10 and 30, MSDS, first aid/CPR, fall protection, powered industrial truck operator, ergonomics and automated external defibrillator.

Safety training includes: Personal accountability, responsibility to others, understanding the owner’s safety expectations, identifying and calling attention to unsafe factors, safe behavior in and around hot work areas, maintaining safety, first-aid and OSHA qualifications, communication with co-workers and supervisors during dangerous tasks.

“We instill a core value of safe work by everyone, from apprentices to superintendents, via continuous training,” Engels said. “We team with the employer, project managers and owners on a project’s safety program to identify, assess, monitor, manage and eliminate risks.” 

Carpenters and millwrights are also taught how to maintain consistent, safety-related communications among all stakeholders prior to and throughout the project’s life cycle. They are trained to develop a safety partnership with owners to protect the workforce and the owner’s investment.

The level of safety training meets and exceeds the level of inherent risk factors. A “zero-tolerance” policy is also in effect at all times regarding safety infractions and near-misses.

“Safety is the overriding principle for accomplishing our work and is an equal deliverable with cost and scheduling,” Engels said. “And our training reflects and supports that principle.”

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A FOCUS ON SCAFFOLD TRAINING

Pasadena’s facility features a customized, proprietary, three-year scaffold apprenticeship program that provides journeymen with ongoing training uniquely designed for the Texas industrial community. The program is intense, and includes the requirement that every scaffolder must complete at least the OSHA 10- and 40-hour scaffold qualification courses before being dispatched to a jobsite.

Training at the new facility dives deep into all scaffold types, and provides methods for platform construction and assembly techniques for frame, tube and clamp, and system scaffolds. We hammer home information and guidance for calculating capacity and contributory leg loads. We stress scaffold access and egress and safe use guidelines, including fall protection and falling object protection. We present training requirements for scaffold erectors, dismantlers, and users.

There’s a difference between a competent scaffolder and a trained, tested, and formally QUALIFIED professional. Training at the new Pasadena center tests and awards those who master their skills for Scaffold Erector, User, and Industrial Qualification. We also train under the Rigger & Signaler Certification Program that meets the new rigger and signaler requirements in 29 CFR 1926 Section CC — Cranes & Derricks. 

The training program includes additional qualification in all of these areas: 30-, 40- and 60-Hour Scaffold, 16-Hour Welded Frame and Mobile Tower, 16-Hour Tube & Clamp Scaffold, 20-Hour Systems Scaffold, 8-Hour Scaffold User, 40-Hour Industrial Scaffold, Rough Terrain Forklift, Aerial Lift 

In addition to the qualification process, training focuses on scaffold erection, ground-supported scaffolding, formwork and shoring, suspended access/swing stage, aerial work platforms, mast climbing work platforms, job analysis, site inspection, scaffold design, scaffold prints, material estimation, blueprint reading, and confined space.

“We aren’t settling for anything less than elite skills and off-the-charts safety practices from our scaffolders,” Engels said. “It’s what our employers demand and what their customers deserve. We’re all in this together.”

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Our Commitment to the Houston Industrial Community

Training at the center focuses on intensive training in technical proficiency, as well as soft skills such as understanding operations worksheets and daily work schedules. Customized training and on-site training is also administered if the need arises.

“We recognize that there is so much potential for this region’s industrial construction industry, and we believe that the best way to harness that potential is for labor, management, and ownership to collaborate for the best-possible jobsite outcomes,” Engels said.

“Our organization is focusing a tremendous amount of resources to create transformational leaders who have outstanding communication skills. We also are providing a positive career path with rewarding employment opportunities for all of our craftsmen,” Jones said.

“We take our training very seriously, and that is evidenced with the new Pasadena training center. It is there where we will develop skilled, credentialed, safe, productive, professional carpenters so that all of this work is done the way it’s meant to be.”