About 2,100 United Association teachers and trainers gathered Aug. 9-15 in Ann Arbor, Mich., for UA’s 55th annual Instructor Training Program, covering such topics as green awareness certification, CAD for piping trades, public speaking, and recruiting and promotion in mass media.

UA apprentices compete in the contest that ran during UA’s Instruction Training Program.

About 2,100 United Association teachers and trainers gathered Aug. 9-15 in Ann Arbor, Mich., for UA’s 55th annual Instructor Training Program. The classes for instructors of journeyman plumbers and pipefitters covered a range of topics from technical courses such as green awareness certification and CAD for piping trades to professional element courses like public speaking, and recruiting and promotion in mass media.

Mike Massey, executive director of the Pipe Industry Progress and Education Trust Fund, addressed the mass media class on how to create a union local Web site and use the Internet, radio and TV to recruit UA members and get more union work.

“The most important thing is to focus on what you’re trying to do with your mass media,” Massey told the instructors. “What are you trying to get across? You have to figure out what you’re going to sell and how you’re going to sell it.”

A Web site is always a work in progress, he said. Getting feedback on Web sites is a good idea for instructors who are developing the sites for their locals.

“When I write an article, I get someone else to proof and edit it,” Massey said. “It’s a similar process with your Web site.”

Good examples of Web sites that provide valuable information are www.pipe.organdwww.greencontractors.us. The Mechanical Contractors Association of America developed and maintains the latter site.

For ads that appear on TV, radio and Internet, Massey differentiated between those that are a call to action from ones that promote a brand. The objective of both types of ads, however, is to get more UA work.

The purpose of call-to-action recruitment ads is get people to contact the UA, Massey said. These types of ads must contain basic contact information such as a phone number clearly displayed. The commercials promote free training, great benefits and the bright future that awaits UA members.

“We use all the buzzwords in the commercials,” he said. “We have a 30-second online commercial for pipe trades recruitment. You’ve got to catch someone in the first six or eight seconds, or you’re not going to get them.

“We post all our stuff on YouTube because young people watch YouTube. It’s crucial that you reach your audience.”

Another UA video that appears on YouTube is an example of a branding ad. It raises viewers’ awareness of how heavily UA is involved in green construction initiatives by showing UA members supporting a green building ordinance before the Los Angeles City Council.

Massey encouraged union locals to take an integrated approach to their media programs. They should tie together all the elements: Internet, radio, TV and newspapers.

The Ann Arbor area has hosted UA’s train-the-trainer program since 1990. UA conducted its International Apprentice Contest at the same time.