May 23 2017

PMCA Briefs Oregon Senate Veterans and Emergency Preparedness Committee on Opportunities for Veterans in Apprenticeship Program

by Megan Beyer in Uncategorized

This spring PMCA participated in a Senate informational hearing on Veterans in Apprenticeship in response to SB 676, which would have required apprenticeship programs to give credit toward apprenticeship for qualifying individuals who obtained experience in plumbing, pipefitting, steamfitting or heating ventilation and air conditioning while in active duty in the armed forces.  While this bill was drafted with good intentions, it was necessary to make it clear why in practice the bill would be problematic for our apprenticeship programs and potentially detrimental to the veterans.  To do this we needed to educate the committee on the tremendous work the construction trades are currently engaging in for our veterans.

Frank Wall, Executive Director of PMCA, was on hand to speak to the collaborative work we are doing with UA Local 290 to support veterans in accessing apprenticeship programs.  One of the successes, Frank spoke of was the highly regarded Veterans in Piping Program.  The Veterans in Piping Program is a partnership between United Association and the US Department of Defense.  The goal of the program is to provide an accelerated, 18-week course in the piping trades for members of the military preparing to leave service that would give them opportunity to get the training to re-enter the workforce with the skills necessary for a lifelong career.  Graduates of the program which is held at several military bases around the country have a pathway to apply to UA apprenticeship programs across the country.  Two marines who recently graduated have applied for our program with UA 290.

The hearing provided the stage for a number of construction trades to join forces to discuss their efforts and experiences in recruiting veterans into their apprenticeship programs.  Along with PMCA, representatives from IBEW, Local 16 Sheet Metal Workers and the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association also presented.  The Apprenticeship Division of the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries also provide important testimony.  This special hearing was coordinated by our government affairs team at FocusPoint Communications.

Ultimately, this hearing proved successful as SB 676 was removed by the bill’s Sponsor and the Committee Chairman from further consideration – due to efforts of the panel to provide crucial information to the committee about their continuing work with veterans.  The senator who sponsored the bill commended the industry and also indicated interest in coming to the training center for a tour after the legislative session is over.

If you would like to watch the hearing you can replay it here.