IUPAT Participates in Maryland Private Sector Economic Development Commission Meeting

Panel Focused on Apprenticeship and Construction

Hanover, MD — On Tuesday, July 29, 2014, members of the Maryland Private Sector Economic Development Commission met at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland to discuss workforce development and its role in making Maryland attractive to companies considering relocation.  The commission was founded in March 2014 to focus on the economic and business development structure of the state.

IUPAT General President Kenneth Rigmaiden addresses members and guests of the Maryland Private Sector Economic Development Commission.

IUPAT General President Kenneth Rigmaiden addresses members and guests of the Maryland Private Sector Economic Development Commission.

Kenneth Rigmaiden, general president of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), serves on the commission.  He and his colleagues invited Dr. Thomas Pfundstein, director of Curriculum and Instruction for the Finishing Trades Institute (FTI) of the IUPAT, to speak on a panel that focused on the role apprenticeships can play to successfully grow the construction labor market.  Both Pfundstein and Rigmaiden addressed the members of the commission on the elements of what makes an effective apprenticeship program.

“The Building Trades have apprenticeship and training programs already in place to give Maryland the leading edge in workforce development over our competitors in this worldwide economy,” said Rigmaiden.  “It’s an opportunity to succeed that this state simply should not, and cannot, ignore.  We have the potential to bolster the financial well-being of the middle class, which in turn will fuel a healthier Maryland economy.”

Others on the panel included Robert McKinley, vice president of General Construction for Dominion Generation, and Mark Coles, executive director of CHOICE (Community Hub for Opportunities in Construction Employment).  Both executives offered their perspective on the merits of apprenticeship programs in the construction industry business model.

“Construction apprenticeship training programs, such as the ones run by building and construction trades unions, are second to none,” said McKinley.  “Their steady supply of individuals who are quality craftsmen and women results in greater productivity and quality, and that adds up to project savings for public and private infrastructure owners.”

“While some may fear a potential for skilled worker shortages, we should instead choose to view it as an opportunity for Maryland’s business leaders to utilize apprenticeship training programs to not only meet the needs and concerns of developers and construction contractors, but also those individuals who can participate in these ‘earn while your learn’ programs for the purpose of training for a career, not just a job,” added Coles.

The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades represents men and women who work in commercial and industrial painting, glazing and glasswork, drywall finishing, floor covering installation and sign and display, among other crafts.  The IUPAT is committed to growing a qualified construction workforce through the ongoing development of the most effective and successful apprenticeship programs in our trades across the country.

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