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Boilermakers’ booth popular with career expo participants

Tim Simmons, Director of National Recruitment Services, draws interested students to the IBB booth at the career expo at Greenville Technical College’s Center for Manufacturing Innovation in Greenville, South Carolina. Photo courtesy of Greenville Technical College, Copyright 2019

Flux core, stick and TIG welding equipment attract prospective Boilermakers

TIM SIMMONS, DIRECTOR of National Recruitment Services, took inventory of the contents of his truck bed: Brochures and handouts? Check. Stands for the welding equipment? Check. Backdrop? Check. Table cover? Check. He needed to make sure he packed everything for the 350-mile trek to attend an annual invitation-only career expo at Greenville Technical College’s Center for Manufacturing Innovation (CMI) in Greenville, South Carolina.

During National Apprenticeship Week, Nov. 12-18, Simmons had reached out via email to regional vocational, technical and career colleges in the Southeast to tout the benefits of becoming a Boilermaker. He was invited to present to a welding class at the Greenville Technical College and, after an enthusiastic reception from the students and instructor, he was the only union representative asked to participate in the career expo in December.

CMI is known for its high-quality hands-on training and high-quality students. Simmons knew the career expo was just the place to yield a significant number of students who might be interested in what the Boilermakers have to offer.

“These students are looking for a career where they can see what they’ve built, be proud of their contributions to society and take good care of their families,” Simmons said. “It’s important to foster a learning environment where students can touch and feel the equipment, ask questions and get the word from someone who has lived and worked the Boilermaker brotherhood.”

So, to complement his promotional table display at the event, Simmons meticulously built stands to show off flux core, stick and TIG welding equipment, allowing the students hands-on interaction.

Kelvin Byrd, associate dean of industrial technologies at CMI and a 25-year alumnus of the college, was impressed with Simmons’ interactive style and presentation.

“Tim did a really great job engaging the students,” he said. “He talked about the Boilermakers union and what it stands for, opportunities in the skilled trade and how students could pursue a career as a Boilermaker.

And his equipment display was the most impressive part of the exhibit. Students love getting hands-on opportunities.”

The 2 1/2-hour career expo ushered in about 280 students — the majority of whom stopped by Simmons’ exhibit. “There was a line waiting to see and hear what Tim’s exhibit was all about,” Byrd said. “In the last 10 years — and especially the last four — students, parents and individuals are really understanding that the skills a Boilermaker apprenticeship can teach can put them in a situation to have a really good career and provide for their families.”

“I want to share the satisfaction, joy and stability that being a Boilermaker has provided me and my family with others who are willing to work hard and smart. It’s a great career opportunity that I never get tired of promoting,” Simmons said.