L-667 graduate apprentices from the Helmets to Hardhats program include, l. to r.: front row, Aaron Bradley, Anthony Reynolds, Dewey Greear, and Tom Abbott; back row, L-667 BM-ST George Pinkerman, Alan Staats, Chad Pinkerman, Joshua Whitecotton, Jake Samples, and L-667 Apprentice Coordinator Craig Phillips.
Eight military veterans become journeyman Boilermakers
LOCAL LODGE 667 (Charleston, W.Va.) graduated its first apprenticeship class with eight members indentured from Helmets to Hardhats, a national program that connects former military personnel with career opportunities in the building and construction trades.
The February graduates include Tom Abbott, Aaron Bradley, Dewey Greear, Chad Pinkerman, Anthony Reynolds, Jake Samples, Alan Staats, and Joshua Whitecotton.
Craig Phillips, apprentice coordinator for Local 667, believes the military played an important role in the development of these new journeyman Boilermakers.
“Their military lifestyles proved to be a great advantage when it came to performing a job task as instructed, showing up for work on a regular basis, and having very strong work ethics,” Phillips said. “Throughout the 6,000 hours of on-the-job training and 576 hours of classroom and shop training, these men showed determination and dedication. They came to the local training center on their own time with journeymen Boilermakers who were willing to help them with their welding skills.”
When first indentured, these individuals had no real idea of what a Boilermaker is, or what being a Boilermaker would mean to them, Phillips said. Most had no maintenance skills and had never struck an arc with a welding machine. But by the end of the program, all eight had become certified tube welders with multiple contractors, and one was also certified in plate welding.
“These apprentices started as individuals with no union work experience,” Phillips said, “but I am proud to report that they are now graduate, skilled journeyman Boilermakers.”