Local 85 in Atlanta prepares to open new, expanded training center

Sheet Metal Workers Local 85’s current training center in Atlanta beckons new apprentices on its website, urging “get your sheet together.” Their new state-of-the-art apprenticeship training center, slated to open in August, makes that call even more enticing.

Local 85 has not expanded its training center since 1986. Members voted to approve an expansion that will double its size.

“The training center was bursting at the seams,” said Alan Still, the local’s director of apprentice training.

The new facility will have seven classrooms, up from three, and will include a new laser welder, 40 welding booths, virtual welders, a computer lab for Revit and CAD instruction, a plasma table, power brakes and power sheers. The virtual welders and laser welder were provided thanks to a grant from the International Training Institute (ITI), the education arm of the unionized sheet metal industry.

“The sheet metal shop will be the size of the current building,” Still said. “We will be able to spread out a lot more, increase our industrial training, and it will provide us with a dedicated testing, adjusting and balancing [TAB] lab, which we desperately needed.”

Local 85’s new TAB lab will be the only certified TAB lab in the southeast region, and the hope is that the local’s partnership with the ITI will increase the reach of this training center into a regional facility, broadening its market share.

“We have a lot of TAB signatory contractors, so increasing our ability to certify more members is going to allow our contractors to increase market share and drastically improve our recruiting of new apprentices and increase opportunities for our workforce,” Still said.

Local 85 has been training apprentices and journeypersons since the 1940s, and apprentices in the program have been involved in the construction of some of the biggest projects in Georgia, including the Georgia Aquarium, State Farm Arena, Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Truist Park.

For more information about ITI, visit the website or call 703-739-7200.


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