Disaster Response: The Time to Step-up is Past Due
If you live on the mid- to upper- East Coast, you probably have had enough snow for awhile. Nonetheless, another front is about to hit and cripple a number major cities in the US again. How we as a people deal with these weather-related occurrences must become food for thought as Registered Apprenticeship programs make their push to implement the updated standards into their curricula.
Several years ago, I had the pleasure of chairing a Labor-Management Advisory Committee for the International Code Council. In fact, Tony Swoope (former National Director of the US-DOL’s Office of Apprenticeship) attended and participated in a number of our meetings. One of the last topics we discussed, prior to the disbanding of this committee, was disaster relief. What is it that we as a construction community can do to play a significant part by helping others in need (i.e., Katrina, Haiti, etc.)?
Most, if not all, construction-related apprenticeship programs teach an array of courses (i.e., OSHA10, FA/CPR, Rigging, etc.) that play a vital role in disaster relief and/or recovery. Many of our contractors have yards with idle equipment. Several of our tradespeople are currently wanting for work. It is a shame that we have the capacity to assist others but lack the desire or willingness to follow through…As the wealthiest nation in the world, we owe it to others to step-up and take the lead!
I apologize for my lack of writing the last few months. I have been quite busy but I'm sure all of you have been too. For October, November, and part of December I had been working at the Post Cereal Plant in Jonesboro, AR for W. Soule. We were working twelve and a half hour days, seven days a week. After work I had enough time to eat, shower and then go to bed. Although the days were long and tiring, I made a lot of money and gained a lot of work experience. There was so much welding to be done each day that I capitalized on making myself a better and more proficient welder. The work that I do is very demanding and at times exhausting, but I know that If I want to be a great welder then I have to appreciate the opportunity to have so much work. Every time I burn another rod I understand more about the welding machine, the electrode(the rod) and my capabilities to handle it all. I have always heard practice makes perfect. While working at Post, I got the opportunity to weld on materials that I was not familiar with. I think I was ready to scream and pull my hair out after an hour of welding unfamiliar metals. I knew I couldn't let it get the best of me and after a day of figuring the metal, the heat and speed I needed to make a secure weld, I conquered it. Which by the way is very rewarding and my supervisor rewarded me also, with more welding. I would have continued to work there past December but my dad was hospitalized with major heart problems. There is no job out there that is more important then family to me. For the time that I was there, I took the knowledge that I have learned in my apprenticeship classes, applied it to the job and vice versa. I also got to eat a lot of cereal which I have to admit was the best part. Who doesn't like Post cereal?