On May 12, The United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters (UA) Local 168 officially cut the ribbon to open a state-of-the-art addition to their training center.

The new $1 million plus expansion houses 22 welding booths with the latest equipment, which will help the area keep up with a growing demand for skilled welders.

Training Coordinator Jeff Smith was proud to show off the work of his fifth year apprentice class – new signage in front of the training center. The sign was created entirely by the fifth-year apprentices during their Construction Project Management Class.

“The fifth years did everything for this sign, from conception, to design, to engineering, to permitting, to bidding, inspection, and fabrication,” said Smith.

Fifth year apprentice Mark Sampson was grateful for the experience – an eight-month project, from beginning to end.

“It was eye-opening to realize how much work goes into the project before you can even start fabrication,” he said.

The Training Center hosted local and state officials for the opening. “Economic development depends on workforce development,” said Ohio Rep. Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville), while presenting a proclamation to Smith and the center.

Marietta Mayor Joe Matthews agreed.

“Union members are the best-trained,” he said. “I always have and always will support local union labor.”