Recovery Act Impact: Plumbers Local 12 Education Fund
“We are building training systems and those will stay even after the grant runs out,” said Theresa Rowland, of Commonwealth Corp., which works with the union to manage its training.
The Union’s Education Fund received $307K in stimulus funds through a State Energy Sector Partnership and Training Grant with the goal of training members for careers in the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries as well as other green industries.
To that end, the union is providing members with classes in in how to install and service the newest energy efficient systems. These include a rainwater reuse system which collects rainwater through drainage in the roof, is filtered and used for toilets and irrigation. It also includes a solar training system, which preheats water. “A lot of schools and garages are installing solar hot water systems,” noted Kim Garston, who runs the Plumbers Union’s classes.
The four-day training program involves three days of classroom instruction and then a day of hands on training in the Union’s training centers, which have working systems for the students to practice on.
“They can take things apart, they can take out fluid, they can unclog pipes here,” said Garston. “Most of the jobs the students get now are in installation of these new systems and they need to be checked every year. They need to be educated and we’re trying to give them as much as we can.”