A headquarters for the Ohio-Kentucky district of the International Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers union is being built at the intersection of routes 58 and 113.
The 30,000-square-foot building will house administrative offices, a training center, and a 300-seat union hall that can be rented out for private events, according to Kenneth Kudela, district director.
In a presentation to the Lorain County commissioners, Kudela said the trades building is in a good, visible location.
“It gives us an opportunity to be right in the center of everything that’s happening and we’re excited to be there,” Kudela said. “I look forward to working with the community and area development groups.”
He said 26 full-time workers and four part-timers will be employed at the facility. Its main function will be training, including teaching bricklaying, cement laying, marble masonry, and laying tile.
The training center is scheduled to open in the spring. The offices are due to open in the fall.
The training center will have six instructors and a $560,000 annual budget paid for with members’ dues. The district represents about 6,000 members in Ohio and Kentucky.
Kudela said the union will be recruiting students from area high schools, the Lorain County JVS, and schools such as Lorain County Community College.
Kudela is on the JVS masonry advisory board. The union does classroom lectures to JVS masonry students and has worked on community projects with them.
While working with schools, Kudela said the union hasn’t done a good job in the past of promoting building trades and that the work pays well.
Apprentice wages for bricklayer journeyman begin at half of the $33.81 per hour rate with increases every six months. It takes about four years to become a journeyman. Work includes 6,000 hours of on-the-job training and 640 hours of related technical instruction.
“It is a good way to raise a family,” Kudela said. “Getting that message out is crucial.”
Commissioner Ted Kalo said building trade work isn’t glamorous but it’s necessary.
“You’re not going to build a building with a computer. You’re not going to install a floor covering with a computer,” he said. “It takes manpower to do that and people who are skilled to do it.”
Evan Goodenow can be reached at 440-1775-1611