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February 23, 2024 | Training

Local 56 Members Dive Into Their Futures

Four members of Pile Drivers Local 56 affiliated with the North Atlantic States Regional Council are currently training as commercial divers at a UBC training facility in New Jersey.

Dilla McDonagh, Bob Patterson, Pat Maltsev and Safire Fuentes all recently signed their enrollment agreements and have begun the four-month program.

The Eastern Atlantic Carpenters Training Fund purchased an existing diving academy in 2022 to support expanded marine construction, including off-shore wind projects. The 10,000 square foot facility is the only union-owned commercial dive school in the United States and has been opened up for use by selected members throughout the Eastern District of the UBC.

“We’re excited to present this opportunity to our members,” said Local 56 Representative John Dunderdale. “The need for qualified divers is going up and the commitment required to provide training for individuals to become certified really plays to the strengths of our union.”

The Jersey-based facility extends related marine construction training offered here in NASRCC. The main training center in Millbury was the first in the country to offer tank-based underwater welding to certified divers.

Prior to being accepted to the program, each member was required to have an ADCE dive physical and be certified for open water SCUBA.

Marine work–including commercial diving, welding, underwater welding, dockbuilding and pile driving have been a part of the Carpenters union’s jurisdiction for many years. In areas, pile drivers have individual locals, such as Local 56, while in other areas, the members are blended into general commercial construction local unions.

Before heading to the training, Paterson said the time commitment required sacrifice, but that he appreciated the “opportunity for the betterment of our careers” and that it would “instill a lot of pride in us.”