Local 520 Apprentices Traveling to the Steel City for State-Wide Trade Skills Competition
Plumbers, Pipefitters and HVACR Technicians Local Union 520 is planning to let competitors at this year’s Pennsylvania Pipe Trades Apprentice Contest know that Harrisburg is the real city of champions. The event, which is returning after a two-year hiatus, will be held Tuesday March 29, 7:30 a.m.- 3:30 p.m. and Wednesday March 30, 7:30 a.m.- 3:30 p.m. at the Steamfitters Technology Center located at 230 Wise Road, Harmony, PA 16037.
Local 520 hasn’t missed a Pennsylvania Pipe Trades Apprentice Contest since the event’s inception. This year, the school will be sending three students who won an in-house competition for each discipline to the contest. Educators will prepare the students for the event by helping them brush up on any skills they feel need work.
Representing Local 520 will be pipefitter Jimmy Clark (5th year apprentice), plumber Megan White (5th year apprentice), and welder Chase Snyder (3rd year apprentice). All are first time competitors.
According to Don Eldridge, Local 520 Training Coordinator, “You always want to win at the state level and especially when it’s in Pittsburgh or Philadelphia. We are considerably smaller than those two. When you have a winner in one of those two cities, it’s a real accomplishment.”
Eldridge competed as a plumber apprentice contestant when it was held in Pittsburgh in 2007. The team is also bringing along full-time instructor, Ben Horst, to help judge the competition. Horst won the pipefitter contest in Pittsburgh when he was an apprentice. This will be their first trip back to the city since they competed.
Eldridge says, “When you work in the trade, be it plumber, pipefitter, or welder, you receive a sense of accomplishment with a job well done. That moment you look at a completed project and know you played a hand in making it a reality. The apprentice contest is an instructor’s moment; knowing he or she has passed on their knowledge of the trade and played a key role in the skills of the next generation. Education is the greatest gift we can give our future journeypersons.”
At the end of the competition, there will be an award ceremony in the Champions Club at Heinz Field for all participants beginning at 6:30 p.m. The winners of Pennsylvania Pipe Trades Apprentice Contest will move to the district competition along with the winners from seven other states. That winner will move to the district contest in Louisville, Kentucky then the national contest in Ann Arbor, Michigan.