The United Association Pipefitters' Local Union 597 recently dedicated its new Pipefitters' Training Center in Mokena, Ill.

UA Local 597 opened a new $15 million training center in Mokena, Ill. Dignitaries on hand included (from left): UA General President William Hite; Stephen Lamb, executive vice president, MCA of Chicago; Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich; and James Buchanan, business manager, Local 597.
The two-story, $15 million center teaches welding, piping and HVACR service apprentices the latest technical knowledge using state-of-the-art equipment. The staff includes 10 full-time and 90 part-time instructors.

The four-year apprenticeship program is split between day and night classes. The center also offers continuing education for journeymen workers.

UA Local 597, which represents nearly 9,000 men and women in the piping industry, currently has 606 apprentices, ages 18 to 55.