First Lady Fran DeWine and Ohio House Rep. Brian Baldridge toured Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 577 Apprenticeship Training Center in Portsmouth, Ohio.

More young Ohioans than ever are choosing Building Trades Apprenticeships after high school, and many JATC schools are investing in new training center facilities and upgrades. First Lady Fran DeWine and Rep. Brian Baldridge saw firsthand the unparalleled training that future Building Tradespeople receive in the newly upgraded Plumbers and Pipefitters 577 Apprenticeship Training Center this week.

Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine at Plumbers and Pipefitters 577 JATC Apprenticeship Training Center in Portsmouth, Ohio

From left: Future Apprentice Brian Fannin, Rep. Brian Baldridge, First Lady Fran DeWine, Local 577 Business Manager Bobby Cole, Local 577 Journeyman Mark Lute, and pre-apprentices Aaron Crum, James Hallam, Wyatt Litteral, and Donivan Kay.

Tri-State Building Trades members renovated the facility in central Portsmouth, which was a former community rec center. What was once a swimming pool is now a series of world-class welding stalls where future plumber-pipefitters learn their trade from experienced mentors.

Alan Winters teaches in the popular pre-apprenticeship welding program in the new facility. Young people in Portsmouth and surrounding communities, which are recovering from the opioid epidemic and job outsourcing, find a clear career path in the program. They also find a renewed sense of purpose and pride, said Winters.

“Maybe you didn’t have the right person in your life to help you do better – that’s where I come in,” said Winters, who is a mentor as much as a skilled craftsman and teacher. “I’m here to help them grow and make their lives better. All you have to do is be teachable.”

To learn more about apprenticeship at Local 577 or any of the more than 80 joint labor-management Building Trades training centers in 12+ trades across Ohio, click here