Indepth Interview with Training Director Walden

Archie Walden gets a lot of questions. As Director of the Local 872 Training Center, he needs to have the answers. The impact he makes at the Training Center and with members is seventeen years in the making. He encourages everyone to exceed their own potential but remains firmly honest. Unwavering commitments to safety and integrity require him to maintain the highest of standards. The Facility has grown under his leadership all while Archie remains open to members seeking to grow with Local 872.

What Does the Director of the Training Center Do?

“I schedule classes for members, journeymen and apprentices preparing them for upcoming jobs, getting apprentices especially ready to face the world and their new careers in construction. I also manage the application process.”

How do you get in the General Construction Program?

“Applications will become available again from March 1st to 30th. For those of you interested in getting an application, the process is simple. You come in and pick up an application and turn it back in at the time printed on the application. When you turn in the application you must have I.D., your birth certificate, a high school diploma or GED or Transcript with a graduation date. Once these are received you will be scheduled for an assessment exam and then an interview. Successful applicants score 70 points or more between all three items to be eligible for the general construction program. Once you are in the program you do your two-week Bootcamp and you become one of the apprentices here for Local 872.”

What is Happening at the Training Center?

“Right now we are gearing up for a lot of new things. We have new career events, we just finished hosting a career fair event with Western Apprenticeship Coordinators Association (WACA), and Merging Vets and Players (MVP) which is [the fighter] Randy Couture’s program. Carpenters were part of the program and Local 12 Operating Engineers were here for a good turn out. We also hosted a Center Ring Boxing tournament in conjunction with the job fair.

We have upcoming events at the OWINN Office [the Governor’s Office of Workforce Innovations) which is the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board, speaking to high school kids who may not be ready to go into college but are ready to find a career right now. We want to offer them that opportunity here at Local 872 getting them involved in construction because they are going to be our future no matter which way we look at it. They are the ones that are going to be building the skyline of Southern Nevada so it is good for us to get them involved in the programs right now.”

What are the Benefits of Continuing to Take Advantage of Training?

“Continued training for a construction worker makes you more marketable to an employer. If you have one skill you will work on one job if you have multiple skills you will work on multiple jobs. The most important thing about training is that it keeps you employed on the job site. It gives you better opportunities for advancement and better pay. Each step plays a different part of training. When you go out there and learn how to start work with concrete the first thing you are going to learn is how to make the base, then start making the forms and compaction. All before pouring even starts. If you learn each step you have a leg up on everyone at the job site. The most important part of that is learning how to estimate how much concrete you need. There is a formula for it if learned, those kinds of things you will always get yourself on a job site.”

How Much does it Cost to Take Classes at the Local 872 Training Center?

“As a member of any local trade union no matter if you are going through an apprenticeship program or if you are a journeyman within that Union all the classes are free to you because you are already paying for those classes. Contractors pay into our trust fund which goes into the Training Facility and if you are not taking advantage of those classes you limit opportunities for employment.”

“Some journeymen who have been in the field for 20 years did not know this Center existed until recently when they had to take their OSHA 10 classes, but once they came back in they found all these other classes that are available for them and increased their marketability on the job site. These classes are free for you, you should take advantage with every chance you got. If you are out of work just sitting at home with nothing to do come down and take a forklift class, a class on asbestos training, or hazardous worker class. These classes all get you prepared for the new jobs that are coming up here in the future.”

Which Classes Fill the Fastest?

“A popular class that we have at the Training Center is the asbestos class where you are not only learning to identify the different types of asbestos, but you also learn how to work around it, and also learn how to safely remove asbestos from the worksite. You learn how to identify different types of asbestos such as friable and non-friable. You learn how to set up a containment field, how to work around it, how to dispose of it, and how to clean yourself up after you are finished working around it. Those are some of the most important safety aspects of working around asbestos.

Other classes we have are forklift classes. Where you learn how to operate a forklift, which is different from learning how to drive a forklift. You learn how to read a load chart to determine how high you can pick up a load without tipping the forklift over. These are important on a job site because you do not want to have an accident that could not only hurt yourself but also your fellow coworkers out there.

When you are in these classes be mindful of what you are there for. Pay attention and be involved in the class to learn as much as you can because these classes are not just for our edification but yours and your coworkers.”

Are There New Classes Getting Added to the Schedule?

“I would like to mention the traffic control technician and Traffic Control Supervisory classes where already certified Flaggers will learn how to do traffic control setup and maintenance on job sites and on the roads which bring advancement from being a Flagger. We also have the mining program opening back up with Meric Edgel. We had that program years ago teaching the rudiments of working in a mine shaft. So you will need to get your MSHA certification working in that class. We also have the Forman Preparedness class coming up soon. We will be taking Journeymen and Apprentices on the job site that we see have ambition, motivation, and the ability to think forward. We will promote them to some of our contractors as Foreman in the near future.”

How Has The Center Grown?

“The Training Center has grown lately. We have a few new things coming up. We are starting to teach more classes and our instructors are becoming certified teachers outside of Nevada working through the American National Standard Institute (ANSI). So, kudos to David Pruitt, Anthony Valdez, Leon Harris, and Meric Edgel.

We are also becoming a lot more involved in the community. We are working with Center Ring Boxing to rebuild a firehouse. We are working with Merging Vets and

Players (MVP) getting them involved in the programs. We are working with Hope For Prisoners at the Florence McClure Women’s Prison and High Desert Prison.

We have instructors teaching classes to people that are going to be coming out of incarceration over the next three to six months to get them prepared for a career here at Laborers Local 872. These are programs we made available for our community because we want to see our community grow and advance. Through programs like this we give everyone a fair shot at getting involved in the new projects coming up in the next three to ten years.

We also work with Entravision / Univision on a few things. We do a back to school drive and a toy drive once a year which has been big for the community. Local 872 has been all over the place lately working with Construction versus Cancer and there are multiple events coming up.”

What Opportunities Can a Job in Construction Bring?

“The opportunities the come with a career in construction make the world your oyster. I myself started off as an apprentice 17 years ago. A career in construction is the best place any person can look to make a name, to make a career choice, or to make a good decision for themselves. Starting off as an apprentice can lead you anywhere you want to go. There is a college degree available, there is a career path set in stone if you have the ambition, the initiative, the drive, and work ethic to go after it. Apprenticeship is ‘earn while you learn.’ We send you out to work with a contractor and you come back periodically to take classes. From an apprentice, you go to a journeyman, if you have the desire and initiative you can become a foreman, then a superintendent. If you go back for your college degree, as I did, you can become a project manager, you can go into construction estimation if you have further drive you can become a business owner if you decide to. The people who own PENTA were laborers and carpenters but look where they are right now. So, whatever you want out of life in construction, the opportunity is there and available to you but you need the drive and ambition to go after it.”