April 25 was a big day for the Hobart Campus of the Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters (IKORCC) as they held an open house. During the open house, an apprenticeship contest was held between and among their top apprentices. From 8 am until 2 pm, visitors were invited into their facilities to tour the training center, view vendor displays, witness craft skills competitions, and grab a bite to eat!
“We invited all of the area high schools, all of the area counselors, superintendents of schools, area career centers – everybody we thought could get some advantage by taking a look at what we have to offer and open the community’s eyes to what we have to offer here,” explained Scott Cooley, Representative of IKORCC.
Area high schools and trade programs brought groups to the approximately 40,000 square foot facility to have opportunities available showcased for them. The opportunities are so full of potential that one rushed back to his school to bring another bus load over!
“We’ve got some terrific ongoing training here. Even after they finish a four year program here, all of our Journeymen come in to keep their credentials up. And training is virtually free for them. The students will pay $100 a year for books. Outside of that, they’ll finish the program with a two year degree from Ivy Tech as well. We’ve got something good here to offer and if they want to apply themselves, they can make a good career out of it,” encouraged Ron Simko, Area Training Coordinator at the Carpenters and Millwrights Training Centers in Hobart and Lafayette.
Simko mentioned that events such as this were once held at the training center, but there has not been one at our local campus in quite some time. The contests, especially, are good for the competing fourth-year apprentices. This time, two apprentices competed in the millwright division, three competed in the interior systems division, and three competed in the general carpentry division.
“This [competition] is something we’re trying to bring back because I would not doubt that some of these winners today will actually go out and they might start running work as a foreman or superintendent right away because there are contractors here who are seeing that, how competitive they are, how much knowledge they do have, and I know that happened back when I was in the competition,” noted Simko.
The facilities and courses are completely funded by IKORCC, which makes training incredibly affordable for students. Indeed, the millwright competitors know the opportunities which lie before them and that their success is not wholly their own.
“Can I make a request? Can we get this guy in the picture, too? He’s our instructor. Without him, we wouldn’t be here,” requested millwright apprentice Dustin Mann while grabbing lunch.
The vendors, too, seemed to buzz with excitement with all of the good things happening around them. Representatives from various local companies and even a number outside of our community came to show off technological advancements in tools and to help get potential students interested in the trades. IKORCC also brought out a few virtual reality welding machines to show off part of the training process. With a little guidance, it was fun!
FUN FACT: Indiana leads the country in female and minority apprenticeships!
IKORCC is a group that is often taken for granted in our community, but they are the people who building important components of our community – and not just the foundations of our homes and workplaces. They volunteer often, take apprentices out to help community members with ramps on homes, the United Way, and strive to be a face of positivity throughout our homes.
They hope to make this open house and competition an annual event once again, so keep an eye out!
If you’d like to learn more about IKORCC, please visit their website at www.ikorcc.com or stop in at our local office at 760 North Union Street, Hobart, IN, 46342. There’s always something going on!