Skilled trades training must include sustainability
Apprentices, tradespeople and facilities
engineers can take advantage of
the newest in educational offerings
BY LEO RUSSO
One of the great strengths of the skilled trades training system, apprenticeships, are the international training centers that service an entire educational structure. The United Brotherhood of Carpenters have their International Training Center in Nevada, the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers have the ‘International Masonry Institute’ in Maryland, and the Painters and Allied Trades have the ‘Finishing Trades Institute’ in Baltimore, a partnership between the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades and the Finishing Contractors Association.
While all of these great institutions perform a tremendous job of training thousands of apprenticeship and journey level upgrade instructors in best practices, innovative classroom techniques and the latest technical skills, the Finishing Trades Institute is about to enter into a unique partnership with a community college to offer a full range of green building classes.
The most up-to-date curricula
In addition to delivering training, these national educational centers develop curricula by assessing emerging trends and educational practice applicable to skilled trades construction principles. In the case of the Finishing Trades Institute, a partnership with one of its regional college affiliates, Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, will bring it a new, green curriculum and a ready-to-run program in green building. Both finishing contractor groups will join organized labor in classes designed and delivered by The Green Academy to teach tradespeople the principles of sustainability, in courses such as Interpreting Green Bid Specs, Preparation for the LEED AP examination, Sustainable Rehab Construction and Train the Trainer.
The finishing industry is already expert in the area of chemicals abatement, paint and coatings hazards, and other considerations in green building, but The Green Academy brings it exposure to LEED and other green specifications, LEED certification, and a unique course inventory of green building courses and workshops that are focused on the trades and gaining green collar jobs for the contractor base.
There are training resources available to learn green building concepts in addition to the Green Academy and efforts by national arms of organized labor. As its website describes, The Cleveland Green Building Coalition is a nonprofit organization created to inform civic, business and building industry leaders as well as the general public about the economic, health and aesthetic benefits of green building.
Their offerings in coming weeks include a LEED seminar to Discuss the Costs and Benefits of Green Building, and Information on Home Energy Ratings. There is a growing set of resources for the construction community to learn green and, more importantly, apply principles of sustainability, LEED certification, and green specs to your business.
The local healthcare community is also active in sustainability, especially in the areas of construction and facilities engineering. The Cleveland Clinic named Christina Ayers, AIA, LEED AP, from their construction area to run the Office for a Healthy Environment. Her mission includes education of the Clinic workforce. The Clinic’s Facilities Engineering people are about to begin training in the recently formed Healthcare and Institutional Facilities Maintenance training program with their partners, the VA Medical Center, MetroHealth, and Case Western Reserve University. Tri-C developed the program, which includes a required course in Sustainability as it related to facilities engineering.
A working knowledge of sustainability, green building, energy efficiency and the LEED process are crucial to the success of anyone involved in construction, building rehab, and facilities maintenance and engineering. Learn all you can from as many sources as you can. BXM
Leo Russo is director of construction industry training, Workforce Solutions Div., Cuyahoga Community College.