Industrial Conference Visits IAM Local 701 Auto Technician Apprenticeship Training Center


From left: IAM Local 701 Training Director Lou Longhi, International President Tom Buffenbarger, Canadian General Vice President Dave Ritchie and General Secretary-Treasurer Robert Roach, Jr., visit the Local 701 apprentice training center in Carol Stream, IL.

During IAM President Tom Buffenbarger’s keynote address to the 2015 IAM Industrial Conference in Chicago, he emphasized the importance of training the next generation of workers. On Wednesday, conference participants and members of the Executive Council had the opportunity to see, first hand, a great example of that in action.

Apprentices working at IAM Local 701’s training center.

IAM Local 701, in Carol Stream, IL, has an apprentice program open to current technicians, high school graduates/GED certificate holders, veterans and others seeking a career in automotive industry.

The apprenticeship is a demand-driven training model that combines on the job learning, classroom instruction and mentoring. All of this takes place while earning a paycheck and providing valuable labor for an employer. Courses include automotive fundamentals, electrical and electronics systems, brakes, power steering, power train and hybrid vehicles.

The center has two vehicle lifts, classrooms, simulators and workbenches with various automotive component elements. Apprentices learn and work in a solid union environment which is attached to IAM Local 701’s union hall.

“Participating employers send employees to the training center for two days a week,” said Instructor Tony Kulm. “We call the program earn and learn.” The total cost to the apprentice for the program is around $1,400. A comparable program at a vocational center could cost as much as $20,000, and would not include the on-the-job experience.

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