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January 29, 2024 | Training

Pile Driver Expo Opens Eyes of Pre Apprentices

Rare is the child who grows up knowing they want to be a pile driver. Knowing this–and knowing that even young people who have participated in a pre-apprenticeship related to the Carpenters union may not understand or appreciate the work–the North Atlantic States Carpenters Training Fund (NASCTF) did something about it.

At the Millbury training facility, the program hosted more than 50 pre-apprentices from Building Pathways (Boston and Worcester); Build It!; Building Future Rhode Island; and the Community Mentoring Team for a Pile Driving/Deep Foundations Expo.

More than 20 training staff and union volunteers set up stations, training and demonstrations for welding/burning; rigging/sheet pile installation, drill rig/drill mini piles; and soldier pile and lagging.

The event was attended by Pile Drivers Local 56 Business Manager John Dunderdale and Southeastern Massachusetts/RI Regional Manager Dennis Lassige as well as Alissa Weiss, president of Hub Foundations and Hannah Iezzoni, design engineer from Keller North America.

Ziven Drake, assistant executive director of NASCTF, said it can be expensive and logistically challenging to recruit into this specialty because of the cranes, drill rigs, rigging and welding, involved.

“This was a great opportunity to show people who are already interested in pursuing the trade a close-up view of a specialty area. Pile Drivers are a bit of a different breed. If seeing this kind of unique work early and close-up helps people self-identify, that’s going to lead to great results.

Dunderdale said he noticed a few people who seemed interested or even excited about following up and that’s a positive result to him.

“The average person has no idea what pile driving is or what the related work looks like,” said Dunderdale. “Getting a good-sized group like this to see it and have some of them respond to it is a great start.

NASCTF plans to make the PD/Deep Foundations Expo an annual event and is exploring ways to include more employers and pre-apprenticeship programs.