For years, the building trades talked about the building boom that was coming, and finally, it’s here.
To prepare for the tremendous work opportunities that are coming for union construction members in Central Ohio, the area building trades are aggressively trying to attract as many apprentices as they can.
Apprentices from first to fifth years are needed as megaprojects in the area will require thousands of union construction workers.
Over the summer, Amazon announced plans to invest nearly $8 billion to expand its datacenter presence in central Ohio. Google and Facebook also currently have datacenter campus projects in the works.
The largest private project in the history of Ohio is Intel. Located in New Albany, this four-phase $100 billion project will result in the construction of eight state-of-the-art semiconductor plants.
Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 189, one of the many Local Unions that make up the Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, is opening a new training center to better train more apprentices.
Local 189 currently has 13 apprenticeship classes, with about 20 in each class. The number of apprentices in the five-year program has doubled over the past three years according to Business Manager Tim Ely.
Ely says Local 189 may have over 400 apprentices in the program at some point in 2024.
“These data and chip centers offer really good and clean work environments, and some offer warm meals for construction workers working at the site,” said Dorsey Hager, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the C/COBCTC. “The construction industry has changed and evolved so much, and it will help us recruit new members.”
Completing a registered apprenticeship program is the fastest way to secure steady work, good wages and quality benefits.
“All trades need people, but plumbers, pipefitters, electricians and sheet metal workers are really in demand right now,” Hager said. “As the Honda Plant and the Intel Project progress, operating engineers, laborers and ironworkers will be in high demand.”
He added that apprentices have a unique opportunity to learn while working on high-profile jobs.
In all, Hager believes the Central Ohio building boom will last at least another 10 years, which means apprentices could spend their entire apprenticeship working at one job site.