Three-week course put hundreds to work, grew local from 125 to 415 members

FAIRFAX, Va. – Two years ago, Mark Lemon took over as training coordinator and business manager at Local 399 in Aiken, SC and inherited one of the biggest challenges of his career. With the start of the 198,344-acre Savannah River project on the horizon, as well as other large projects in the region, hundreds of certified welders were needed, and it was up to Lemon, and his 125-member local, to fill the positions. To do this, Lemon called on the International Training Institute (ITI), the education arm of the unionized sheet metal and air conditioning industry, to help staff and supply two three-week concentrated welding programs with the goal of turning out certified welders and putting them to work right away.

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