A new $3.5 million 75,000-square-foot training facility in Missouri is positioned to tackle skill shortages in the finishing industry.
The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council #2 recently opened the doors of a new training center in Chesterfield, MO, that promises to train new hires and improve the skills of the existing workforce.
International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council #2
|The new facility features a variety of technical and safety training mock structures.|
The center more than triples the school’s previous space and unites classes once spread among five buildings in St. Louis area.
A formal dedication is planned for the fall.
Design for Training
The center was designed to be the country’s leading training facility for residential and commercial painters, industrial painters, drywall finishers, paperhangers and glaziers, according to the union branch.
“The design of a good training facility is a unique project,” said Tim Klotz, director of training for Painters District Council #2.
Charles Bell Architect, based in Clayton, MO, designed the classrooms and training mock-up structures within the facility. The general contractors were RPA Construction Services and J.W. Fuller Construction.
“Classrooms must be conducive to instructor presentation and student learning,” Klotz said.
He added, “Job-site conditions must be provided for hands-on training at the school if you expect the tasks to be repeated properly on the construction site. All of the mistakes that inexperienced students are bound to make should be made and corrected at the training facility instead of a costumer’s building.”
The large mock structures for commercial and industrial interior and exterior surface preparation and coatings application had to be built inside of another large warehouse, he said.
The structures reflect real-world conditions necessary to train new hires and hone and improve the skills of the existing workforce, Klotz said.
Advanced Training Space
The new facility can accommodate 425 students and is packed with many technical and hands-on programming features, which include the following elements.
• Six classrooms equipped with audio/visual systems
• A blueprint room
• Bench work space for initial technique training
• Two mock residential/commercial structures for interior and exterior training
• A mock steel structure for industrial training
• A spray booth and
• An abrasive blast booth.
The union branch also said a mock commercial storefront will be added to the facility in 2013 for glazier training, including glass and framing fabrication and installation.
Training Structure for Painters, Drywall Finishers
The facility’s mock structure for residential and commercial painters resembles a home. The structure stands two stories and features 36 interior rooms with eight- and 12-foot ceilings, and varying window and door frame treatments.
Its exterior is siding and exterior insulation finishing system (EIFS) with numerous cornice and shutter layouts, reports indicate.
Drywall finishers will train in a second two-story simulated space with 46-rooms. The structure has 8-foot ceilings and radius and splay work.
Klotz said that there is a need to expose drywall finishers to large amounts of radius and splay angle work because they are so pervasive in today’s building designs.
Moreover, the union branch notes that after three rounds of practice on each surface, drywall will be removed and replaced to create fresh practice space.
Steel-Coating Mock Area
Additionally, a two-story steel frame simulates industrial surface (interior and exterior) preparation and coatings application in the facility.
Trainees will spray on surface coatings and then use abrasive blasting to remove it. The structure also facilitates rigging and containment training.
With the expanded facility, the union’s apprenticeship program will increase from three years to four years, and include courses on safety; general painting; exteriors; drywall and wood finishing; wall coverings; abrasive blast; industrial coatings; decorative finishes; and others.
Also available are Society for Protective Coatings (SSPC) certifications and journeyman safety training, such as Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10- and 30-Hour, lead abatement and licensure, scaffold and others.
Founded in 1889, the Painters District Council #2 represents men and women in Eastern Missouri who work in the finishing trades of residential, commercial and industrial painting, drywall finishing, glazing, floor covering, and sign and trade show/convention display.
The training facility was funded by the 2,200 members of Painters District Council #2, the St. Louis Painting and Decorating Contractors of America/Finishing Contractors Association (PDCA/FCA), the Glaziers Local #513 and the Architectural Glass and Metal Association.
Wanted: Skilled Workers
The construction industry in the U.S. is starving for the next generation’s skilled-trade workforce, according to experts.
The shortage, due to the economic downturn, has left many in the industry concerned about the future.
For example, a recent construction industry survey found that that 69% of architect, engineer and contractor (AEC) professionals say they expect to feel the effects of skilled-workforce shortages in the next three years; 32% of AECs are concerned about a shortage of specialty-trade contractors by 2014; 49% of the general contractors are concerned about finding skilled craft workers by 2017; and 37% of architect and engineering firms are worried about finding experienced professionals.