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Training for the Future: Piping Professionals' Union and Washtenaw Community College Celebrate Major Milestone--and Prepare for the Future

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Aug. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- One of the most successful skills training programs in North America will mark a major milestone this year at Washtenaw Community College (WCC) in Ann Arbor, MI. For the past 25 years, a partnership between the United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters, Sprinklerfitters, Welders and HVACR Technicians (UA) and WCC has produced thousands of certified and internationally recognized instructors in the piping industry.

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This milestone will be commemorated at a special ceremony on Wednesday, August 13, 7:30-8:30 a.m., in the Morris Lawrence Building, Room 150, at WCC. The college is located at 4800 E. Huron River Drive in Ann Arbor, MI. During this ceremony, the UA and WCC will sign a new 15-year contract.

"We value our relationship with Washtenaw Community College," said the UA's General President William P. Hite. "Their commitment to our program has allowed us to train instructors in new and innovative ways, thus allowing those instructors to return home better prepared to teach new generations of high skilled piping professionals."

This partnership, known officially in the industry as the UA's Instructor Training Program, came to WCC and Ann Arbor more than two decades ago. Now, every summer, thousands of instructors from all across North America, as well as Australia, come to the college to pursue their certification as instructors of apprentices and journeymen in the UA. This continues a tradition of more than 100 years of training in the UA that was significantly enhanced and expanded through the partnership with WCC.

The relationship between the UA and WCC has grown significantly over the past quarter century. Today, the UA maintains a full-time, year round presence at WCC with full time staff, through its Great Lakes Regional Training Center. Members of UA local unions from all across the U.S. come to the training center for specialized training throughout the year. This facility includes classroom and auditorium space, as well as hands-on labs and workshops in everything from a state of the art welding lab to rigging to heating and air conditioning. Most recently, GEM Energy of Walbrige, OH, designed and built WCC's first combined cooling, heat and power (CCHP) system, and donated another micro-turbine to train future energy professionals at the Great Lakes facility. GEM Energy also donated a Capstone C30 micro-turbine for the UA's training program at WCC.

"We appreciate GEM Energy's enormous generosity," said General President Hite. "This is further evidence that strong partnerships like these are critical to training for the future."

The UA/WCC relationship also benefits the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti metro area significantly through the injection of significant revenue into the community during the weeklong event held in August each year. The UA has been recognized by the Washtenaw County Commissioners for the important economic contributions to the county. This presence of the UA in the county is so significant that last year the Board of Commissioners of Washtenaw County issued a proclamation honoring the program and noting that the economic impact of this one week is estimated to be nearly $5 million.

"We enjoy coming here each year," said General President Hite. "We receive a warm welcome from by the people of Washtenaw County each year, and it makes our busy time here much more enjoyable."

As the UA and WCC prepare to celebrate 25 years of partnership, the two parties are signing a new lease agreement to keep the program at WCC through 2028.

"We look forward to a continuing successful relationship in the years ahead," said General President Hite. "We are proud to call Washtenaw Community College our home."

About the United Association: The United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States, Canada and Australia, AFL-CIO or "United Association" as it is commonly known, represents approximately 370,000 plumbers, pipe fitters, sprinkler fitters and service technicians in North America. For more information, please visit

Media Contact: Chris Haslinger, International Training Fund, 419-308-6348, [email protected]

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SOURCE International Training Fund

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