Dozens of union members and administrative leaders gathered early Monday morning to witness the groundbreaking ceremony at the new site of the Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters’ (IKORCC) Merrillville Training Center and Administration Building. The site, which is conveniently located just off of I-65 near Mississippi Street and 69th Avenue, is the perfect location for future apprentices to gain necessary skills as they work towards lifelong carpentry careers. The location of the future buildings is highly visible to the thousands of drivers passing by on I-65 every day. The site is a true display of Northwest Indiana’s dedication to developing skills and furthering education for blue collar workers of the region.
U.S. Congressman Pete Visclosky was in attendance to witness and participate in the groundbreaking ceremony. He showed his support by speaking at the event and thanking everyone involved with the Carpenters Union for their hard work and dedication that made the plans for the new buildings possible.
“It is an honor to be here today,” Representative Visclosky stated. “It’s represented here today that every member of this local and every carpenters local is exceptionally trained so that they can be the best employee, the most efficient, and do the best job. It signifies making a good wage commensurate with the dignity of your work and having a good benefit package. It’s a great opportunity to be here for this wonderful groundbreaking.”
Todd Pancake, Director of Education for IKORCC, was very enthusiastic to witness the groundbreaking for the new 60,000 square foot training center and 13,000 square foot administration facility. He explained how the new training facility will help expand their four-year apprenticeship program, in which employees receive both a journey certificate from the United States Department of Labor and an Associate’s Degree from Ivy Tech upon completion.
“The new training center is really exciting for us,” Pancake stated. “We won’t just get the floor space in the new building, but the height and elevations that we need. This will allow us to enhance the training opportunities for the apprentices and the journeymen and women who will be taking continuing education classes here. We’ve got more space and more exposure being here off of I-65, which will hopefully allow us to recruit even more men and women. We really focus on giving apprentices the necessary skills to be successful so that will have more than just a job but instead build a lifelong career.”
Mike Stavitzke, Director of Indiana/Kentucky Millwright Local 1076, was engaging with union members and speaking very passionately about the positive impact that the new facilities will have on the local community.
“I’m very pleased to have so many members of the community here with us today to celebrate these new facilities,” said Stavitzke. “We’re excited about the new training center. It will be a wonderful presence within the community, particularly where it’s located here in Merrillville. We’re really looking forward to training the next generation of carpenters in Northwest Indiana.”
As the grounds were officially broken, enthusiasm for all the future training that will be held at the site was high. Although still only dirt grounds right now, smiles were abound as everyone envisioned all of the positive things yet to come at the new IKORCC training and administration site.