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Apprentice signing day held in Kaukauna

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September 23, 2022

KAUKAUNA – The UA 400 Pipe Trades and the Mechanical Contractors Association (MCA) highlighted the area’s next generation of plumbers, steamfitters, welders, fabricators and HVAC techs as they took the first step toward their mechanical careers.

UA 400 hosted its 2022 Apprentice Signing Day Sept. 15 at the training center in Kaukauna where contractors presented their respective apprentices with a certificate of achievement, along with a USA-made Gerber pocket knife.

“Signing Day tries to put things into perspective for our new apprentices,” Trevor Martin, UA 400 business manager, said. “The importance they play in building and maintaining the future of our communities is immeasurable. Bringing everyone together, from our great employers, technical colleges, local leaders, state agencies and area political figures drives home the true impact of their skills.”

Jeff Gaecke, executive vice president of MCA, said signing day signifies the start of an apprentice’s career.

“I think today certainly highlights the collaboration of the area contractors, Local 400, area high schools and the families of these apprentices – bright futures are ahead,” he said. “The signing of more than 80 new apprentices in Local 400 is a testament of the wonderful work opportunities in Northeast Wisconsin.”

Martin said the number of new apprentices in the Class of 2022 has grown substantially – with 87 apprentices this year – 15 fabricators, 18 HVAC service technicians, 22 plumbers and 32 construction steamfitters – compared to 51 apprentices in 2021.
Scott Wenger, UA 400 training coordinator, said the five-year apprenticeship programs provide classroom instruction and on-the-job training from UA certified instructors at UA 400 training centers.

Wenger said a typical first-year apprentice has two, three-hour nights of school per week after they are done working for the day.

“They attend eight hours of day school once every other week,” Wenger said. “During the weeks the apprentice attends day school, the apprentice will typically work for their contractor for 32 hours (fabricators will work 40 hours per week, four ten-hour shifts Monday through Thursday and attend school on Friday). The average first-year apprentice needs 1,600 on-the-job-training hours, 136 day school hours and at least 120 night school hours.”

Once a student has completed his/her apprenticeship and becomes a journeyworker, the education and training doesn’t stop.
Wenger said there are currently a total of 364 apprentices working toward their apprenticeship. 

Once an apprentice has completed his/her apprenticeship and becomes a journeyworker, the education and training doesn’t stop.

Continuing education opportunities are available to all UA members through specialized training and certification programs.
The UA 400 Pipe Trades is headquartered in Kaukauna with an office in Fond du Lac, and has approximately 2,400 members serving 18 counties in Northeast Wisconsin.

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