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Construction Industry Careers, Not Just Jobs

Local 29 Apprenticeship Available

Sierrah Kienitz, Ironworker


Sierrah Kienitz had just graduated from high school and was working at a fast food business when she had the opportunity to join Ironworkers Local 29. That was three years ago and it’s changed Sierrah’s life. “I’m changed both physically and mentally. The craft has pretty much taught me how to be mature,” Sierrah said.


Local 29’s Business Manager Jason Fussell says this is not an unusual story. As the local reaches out to make welcome people who just need an opportunity to, in many cases, join the middle class. “Ironworkers Local 29 has been successfully working to increase diversity within our membership for years resulting in one of the most diverse locals within our International,” says Fussell. “We recognize that a diverse workforce is not only beneficial to our trade, bringing in a variety of perspectives and creativity, but also highly beneficial to the community.”


Currently Local 29 membership includes 24% people of color and almost 40% of the current apprenticeship students are diverse. Kevin Crocker, Local 29 Apprenticeship Coordinator cuts right to the chase. “New apprentices starting today will be paid $25.96 an hour plus benefits and will receive a 5% raise every six months as they meet the program’s requirements. Journeymen earn $43.27 an hour plus $33.34 in benefits. Working 2,000 hours in the year and you will earn $86,540 in wages plus $66,680 in benefits.”


Crocker continues, “The first step in joining Local 29 is to visit our training facility to fill out an application. We are located at 11620 NE Ainsworth Circle in Portland. We take applications every Wednesday from 7:00 to 2:30 and you must be 18 years of age.”


Apprenticeships provide the opportunity to gain education while earning a living wage, establishing a career path and beginning work toward retirement at an early age, without incurring thousands of dollars of debt. Apprenticeships are the foundation of our construction industry and provide the highest quality workforce. The future shortage of skilled labor for the building trades is worrisome for the construction industry and we need to encourage the current and next generations to see if this is a path that fits them.


Jason Fussell concludes, “ If you’re interested in ironwork we want to help you find a long, successful and safe career. If this isn’t for you, then I encourage you to go to the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries website (www.oregon.gov/boli) where there is information on dozens of apprenticeships. Find your passion, and then find an apprenticeship that will teach you the best practices for your craft while getting you started on your career.”

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