New York, NY – IUOE Local 14’s training program requires dedication and the willingness to learn new skills, many requiring the operation of difficult machinery. LaborPress spoke with Training Director Tom Gordon to find out more about what’s required and about his own experience in the field.

LP: What are some of the requirements to be accepted into the training program? 

TG: The requirements of the training program are as follows: 

  • Must be 18 years old.
  • Physically able to perform the work required of an Operating Engineer, including, but not limited to climbing and working from heights, lifting heavy tools and equipment, have the coordination to perform motor skills, must have the ability to work in extreme outdoor weather conditions and perform heavy manual labor.
  • Committed to learning the unique skills required to become an operating engineer.
  • Background check and drug testing.
  • Commitment to Local 14 and organized labor.
Local 14 excavators at work.

LP: What does the Local 14 training program involve? 

TG: The Training program has 40 certifications and/or courses that must be completed before anyone can be referred for work.

LP: What is on the job/training balance for apprentices?

TG: Apprentices will ideally be employed for the majority of their three-year apprenticeship, working in the field to hone their skills. They will also attend approximately 1,200 hours of classroom and hands-on training at the training facility. 

LP: What machinery are they trained to use and what skills must they develop?

TG: They are trained in the safe operation of a variety of piece of equipment, including but not limited to mobile and tower cranes, excavators, drills, rotary and traditional telehandlers, rollers, spreader and rubber tire excavators. 

LP: Tom, how did your trade unionist career begin?

TG: I started my career as a mechanic on construction equipment and then operated cranes as a member of Local 14-14B before going to work at the training facility. 

LP: In your own experience, what is it like working on cranes? 

It takes years of experience in the business to become a productive crane operator.  The responsibility that goes along with being a crane operator can be stressful at times. However, working as a crane operator was an enjoyable and fulfilling experience. 

LP: Some of those who have gone through the training program, or are just starting their apprentice journey are former US Marines. Did they come through the Helmets to Hardhats program? What was it like working with them? 

TG: The two apprentices that just graduated were both Marines, from Helmets to Hardhats. Their names are Brodie Besemer and Victor Gutierrez. It was a fantastic experience working with them for 3 years. They were everything you would hope for in an apprentice; the incredible work ethic and dedication to the program that they showed was second to none. It was an honor to work with two people who I know will represent their local as well as they did their country — which I think says everything. 


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