|The IAM Mechanics Local 701 Technician Apprenticeship Program in Carol Stream, IL offers students a four-year course to become highly skilled automotive technicians.|
Just a few years ago, the idea of building a school to train automotive technician apprentices in an entirely union environment was almost unimaginable, but IAM Mechanic’s Local 701 in Carol Stream, IL has accomplished just that.
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“We came here and there was nothing; this was an empty room,” said Local 701 Training Center Director Lou Longhi. “It looks nice now and looks like a shop and everything. I didn’t even have a door that I could pull a car into this building.”
“This is a perfect example of the IAM’s commitment to education and training,” said IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Phil Gruber.
Local 701 set out to build a training center that would produce IAM technicians for the future, but they needed employers to get on board and commit the resources and money necessary to make the program successful.
“It took a lot of work to convince employers that you’ve got to step up to the plate as well.” said Gruber. “Between the IAM, Local 701, the employers and with the help of FMCS [Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service] providing some grant money, this all came to reality.”
Sophisticated equipment and tools were also needed – and they couldn’t be hand-me-downs if the school was to be able to turn out talented young mechanics. Hunter Engineering signed on early to supply lifts and a variety of equipment, and is still one of the largest supporters of the program.
The four-year program offers small classes of no more than 10 at a time. Both class and on-the-job training take place in a one hundred percent union environment. Students work two days a week in class and three days a week on the job at an IAM employer.
Unlike for-profit schools, Local 701’s program costs students only $1,400 over the four-year apprenticeships. Through grants and outside support, Local 701 and its partners cover all other costs so students graduate with a good union job and without much debt.
“I look at it like we have a member from cradle to grave,” said Local 701 Directing Business Representative Sam Cicinelli. “We’ve trained this individual to put food on his table for his family for ever and ever.”
Click here for more information on Local 701’s Apprenticeship Program.