Local 549 hosts Whole Child event

Apprenticeship Coordinator Che Rocchild teaches eighth graders basic skills in the shop.

Local 549 (Pittsburg, California) hosted a busload of eighth grade students at their training center on April 12, an event sponsored by the Whole Child Institute. The institute facilitates hands-on learning and career exploration within the building trades. Retired school superintendent Tom Torlakson launched the Whole Child Institute to reach children in underserved communities throughout California, offering them solid career path options.

Boilermakers and visitors gave students an overview of the Boilermaker trade and took them to the shop for hands-on practice. While the students were quiet at first and didn’t engage with questions, once they got into the shop, they wouldn’t stop talking.  

The local provided all-you-can-eat Costco pizza in exchange for “safe work practices,” which was their first “collective bargaining” experience: earning food for safe work. 

At a follow-up to the event two weeks later, parents visited the local to learn about potential career paths for their children after high school. 

Many hands helped with or attended the event. Those included: former California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson; Park Director of Ambrose Recreation and Park District Mae Torlakson; Pittsburg Mayor Shanelle Scales Preston; NTD Director Daniel Watson; Marketing Manager and NTD Local 2080 President Johnny Baca; IR Tim Jefferies; IBEW L-302 Assistant Business Manager Rachel Shoemake; Lincoln Electric representative Edwin Martinez; L-549 apprentice Marissa Collins; L-549 safety attendant/helper Deanette Ke Ahana; L-549 safety attendant/helper Salena Durrell; Apprenticeship Coordinator Che Rocchild; Apprenticeship Instructor Andrew Hayes; Apprenticeship Instructor Steve Brown and Apprenticeship Office Manager Rosaura Segura.