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lga Sanchez was a single

mother with two young

children in 1988 when she
faced a stark choice: continue working
at the factory in Avon Lake where she
was earning $5 an hour after being
employed there for 10 years, or
become a skilled tradeswoman to
secure a brighter financial future.
My brother was a pipefitter with
the local union and he told me they
were taking applications for
apprentices, she said. I had two kids.
I was divorced. I needed to increase
my income.
Sanchez was accepted into the five-
year apprenticeship program through
the Plumbers and Steamfitters Local
42 in Norwalk and has been working
as a skilled tradeswoman ever since.
It was a good decision, she said.
I enjoy working with the different
aspects of piping and the pay is good. I
wouldnt have been able to raise my
family without this work. I was making
$5 an hour after 10 years at the factory
and it closed anyway.
But anyone who decides to
apply for and is accepted into the
apprenticeship program should be
ready to work and study hard. Sanchez
said she worked at various job sites
through the union
while in the program
and went to classes
two nights a week to
learn a host of skills
from plumbing to
Its a lot of work.
Its not just one
class, its dozens of
classes and tests,
she said. Some
classes last a couple
weeks to a month
and cover different
aspects of the industry like how
to weld, how to burn, hydraulics,
plumbing. They show you every aspect
you can think of if it has to do
with piping.
When she started, apprentices
earned 45 percent of a journeymans
wage. The current journeymans wage
is about $25 an hour, so that would be
substantially more than minimum
wage in todays dollars. Apprentices
also earned 5 percent raises every six
months during the five-year program,
Sanchez said.
The work through the union office
has been steady, Sanchez said, and the
union also provides health benefits
coverage and pension savings for its
skilled trades workforce. Sanchez said
she has worked on such diverse jobs as
installing the piping at the Mansfield
Reformatory state prison to pipe work
performed at Jacobs Field in
She also regularly works jobs in
other parts of the state and can work as
a journeyman steamfitter anywhere in
This information is derived from careful research and ongoing
feedback from Lorain County employers. Empowered with this
knowledge, it is up to all of us to create a vibrant and productive
workforce for the county.
Do You Like...
Kind of Work You Can Expect RELATED
Welders and Cutters
and Refrigeration
and Installers
Sheet Metal
U.S. Department of Labor,
Bureau of Labor Statistics,
Occupational Outlook Handbook,
2006-07 Edition
Occupational Information
Network, O*NET OnLine, http://
the country
through the
national union.
One regular job
has been the
Sun Oil Refinery
in Toledo. A
refinery is all
piping, she said.
We take the
pipes apart and
drain them
regularly and
rebuild as part
of the ongoing
Sanchez said
she likes the
diversity in the
job sites. Its
never the same
thing like a
factory, the same
thing over and
over. I like the
fact that you
have to use your
mind to figure
things out.
Basic math,
geometry and trigonometry and being
capable of learning
to read diagrams
and blueprints are
important skills for
anyone considering
the apprenticeship
program, she said.
Its also important
to be fit and drug-
free because there
are regular and
random drug tests
throughout the
There are more
than 40 different
Occupational Information Network,
O*NET OnLine,
topics during the classroom instruction
and nearly as many different specialties
and job skills for union members. Some
jobs require state licenses and some
local cities require plumbers to be
licensed, she said.
Sanchez, who is from Lorain and
graduated from Southview High School
in 1977, said Local 42 has about 300
members, and about 10 or so of those
members are female. But women should
consider the field, she said, because the
pay is good and the work is steady.
Its also not backbreaking physical
labor, she said, and its perfectly suited
to females. You use your head to
figure things out, she said.
U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics,
Occupational Employment Projections to 2014
Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Office of Research,
Assessment and Accountability, Job Outlook to 2012: Northern Ohio -
Economic Development Region 8 (Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake and Lorain Counties)
Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Office of Research,
Assessment and Accountability, Ohio Job Outlook to 2012
Total Job
2004 2014 Change in Percent Due to Growth
Annual Projected Employment Change & Turnover
Employment Employment 2004-2014 2004-2014 2004-2014
499,000 577,000 78,000 15.7 % 193,000
20 ,770 23,600 2,830 13.6 % 7,610
3,020 3,400 380 12.6 % 1,070
Job Openings
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Career Profile Coming March 14, 2006: Construction Manager
& Opportunities
Minimum Education
Most occupations require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job
experience, or an associates degree.
Occupational Information Network,
O*NET OnLine,
Educational/Training Level
Occupational Information Network, O*NET OnLine,
High School or less 67%
Some College 29%
Bachelors Degree or higher 4%
Percentage of Respondents Educational Level Attained
Basic or Core Abilities
You Will Need
Basic Skill Requirements
Occupational Information Network,
O*NET OnLine,
Plans pipe system layout, installation,
or repair according to specifications.
Assembles pipe sections, tubing and
fittings, using couplings, clamps,
screws, bolts, solder, plastic solvent,
and caulking.
Repairs and maintains plumbing by
replacing or mending broken pipes,
and opening clogged drains.
Installs pipe assemblies, fittings,
valves, appliances such as
dishwashers and water heaters, and
fixtures such as sinks and toilets,
using hand and power tools.
Studies building plans and inspects
structure to assess material and
equipment needs, to establish the
sequence of pipe installations, and to
plan installation around obstructions
such as electrical wiring.
Cuts openings in structures to
accommodate pipes and pipe fittings.
Locates and marks the position of
pipe installations, connections,
passage holes, and fixtures in
structures, using measuring
instruments such as rulers and levels.
Measures, cuts, threads, and bends
pipe to required angle, using pipe
cutters, pipe-threading machines,
and pipe-bending machines.
Inspects, examines, and tests installed
systems and pipe lines, using pressure
gauge, hydrostatic testing,
observation, or other methods.
Directs workers engaged in pipe
cutting and installation of plumbing
systems and components.

Basic math, geometry
and trigonometry
and being capable of
learning to read diagrams
and blueprints are
important skills for
anyone considering
the apprenticeship

Dealing with real-world materials such as wood, tools, and machinery
Work activities that include
practical, hands-on problems
and solutions
Searching for facts and
figuring out problems
Enjoying outside work
Jobs that let you use
your best abilities
Work where you can see the
results of your efforts and have
a feeling of accomplishment
Pipefitter, Olga Sanchez, member of Local 42 Plumbers
& Steamfitters union.
Most residential and industrial
plumbers get their training in career
and technical schools and community
colleges and from on-the-job training.
Plumbers and pipefitters who work
mainly for commercial enterprises
are usually trained through formal
apprenticeship programs.
Apprenticeshipsboth union and
nonunionconsist of 4 or 5 years of
on-the-job training, in addition to
at least 144 hours per year of
related classroom instruction. In
Northeast Ohio the following union
apprenticeship programs are
U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor
Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook,
2006-07 Edition
Plumbing and
Gary Kuebbeler & David Keller,
Recruiters, (440) 774-1051
Building Trades
Specialist Program
440-774-1051, Ext. 250
Technical Skills and Knowledge
You Will Need to Develop
Plumbing and Pipefitting:
Can apply technical knowledge and
skills to lay out, assemble,
install, and maintain piping
fixtures and piping
systems for steam, hot water,
heating, cooling, drainage,
lubricating, sprinkling, and
industrial processing
systems. This includes
knowledge in material
selection and use of tools
to cut, bend, join,
and weld pipes.
Knowledge of machines and tools,
including their designs, uses, repair,
and maintenance.
Building and Construction:
Knowledge of materials, methods,
and the tools involved in the
construction or repair of houses,
buildings, or other structures.
Design/Blueprint Reading:
Knowledge of design techniques and
principles involved in production of
precision technical plans, blueprints,
drawings, and models. Ability to
understand and use basic blueprint
terminology and commonly used
Physical Abilities /
Manual Dexterity:
Must be in good health
condition in order to
bend, stretch, walk,
climb, and crawl around
in tight spaces. Ability to
quickly make coordinated
movements of one hand
or two hands to grasp,
manipulate, or assemble objects.
Ability to see details of objects
at a close range.
Workplace Safety:
Maintain a clean and safe work
environment. Comply with
established safety practices, wear
proper protective devices such as
safety glasses and gloves, and
operate equipment in a safe and
prescribed manner.
U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics,
November 2004 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates
U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics,
November 2004 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates
U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Staristics,
Nov. 2004 Metropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates
Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Labor Market Information, 2003
Occupational Wage Data, Updated to 3rd Quarter 2004.
National $44,510/yr. ($21.40/hr)
Ohio $44,920/yr. ($21.60/hr)
Elyria PMSA $48,740/yr. ($23.43/hr)
Earning Potential
Basic Academic Skills:
Reading & Writing Skills: Can read and understand information and ideas
presented in writing. Provide information and ideas in writing so others will
Math Skills: Add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
Communication Skills: Listen to and understand information and ideas
presented through spoken words and sentences. Communicate information and
ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Occupational Information Network, O*NET OnLine,
Apprenticeship Contact
Program Person Phone

Northeast Ohio Plumbers #55 Sean Greller 216-459-2900

Pipefitters #120 Terry Urbanek 216-524-8334
Union Apprenticeship Programs
Success Skills
Knowing How
to Learn
Decision Making
Problem Solving
Academic Skills
Reading & Writing Skills
Communication Skills
Math Skills
Teamwork Skills
Customer Service
Occupational Information Network, O*NET OnLine, http:/
Plumbers and Pipefitters