Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Carpenters Union builds $15M training center in PA

Carpenters Union builds $15M training center along Airport corridor

The Greater PA Regional Council of Carpenters--the Carpenter Union--has invested $15 million of private funding into the future of itself and of building in the region.

"The construction industry is constantly changing its technology and building practices, and if we don't stay on the cutting edge of the changes, we'll fall behind the curve. We look at this new Training Center as our future," says Lou Gilberti with the union. "There are two ways to do business. You can either control or compete. As carpenters, we don't control, so we have to compete. And the only way to stay competitive is to train people in the best skills and attitudes."

The new center was built specifically for training carpenters. Currently, the union operates a training facility in the former high school on Neville Island. When the union realized it needed a bigger and better space, Gilberti says it decided to invest in constructing a new center from the ground-up on two acres next to its 42,000-square-foot headquarters off Route 22/30 near the new Settlers Ridge shopping center.

The union broke ground in September 2008, is finishing up construction now, and expects the facility to be fully occupied the second week of January.

The 93,000-square-foot, two-story space was is used for various fields of carpentry training, including commercial, residential, heavy highway, floor covering and cabinet making. It includes vehicular access on both floors and all-glass garage doors that let in tons of natural light. The first floor ceilings are about 22 feet high, and the second floor are about 32 feet.

"We have the capacity to build a two-story house inside the Training Center," says Gilberti.

The Training Center was designed by Astorino, and Mosites Construction Company served as general contractor.

The Carpenter Union currently has about 915 apprentices and 20 full-time instructors. Its graduation rate is more than 85 percent, which Gilberti says is higher than the national average.

Writer: Caralyn Green
Source: Lou Gilberti, council representative, Greater PA Regional Council of Carpenters




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