Carpenter union’s training facility opens in Eagle
The Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters union training facility on Chambers Avenue finally opened on Monday, Sept. 16.
The town of Eagle first approved a special use permit for the proposal in 2011. The facility was scheduled to open in fall 2012 but weather and construction setbacks halted progress.
“It’s certainly a facility that union members in that area have been looking forward to for a long time,” said Union Chief of Staff Justin Weidner. “What impact it will have for employment and productivity is hard to say, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.”
The union has at least 20 other training facilities across the country for its members and Eagle’s will be added to the list on the website directory very soon, said Union Site Facilitator Matt Dunphy.
The training facilities offer a variety of classes for union members. Those who complete all the proper training become journeymen.
Eagle’s facility will serve most of the Western Slope and parts of Utah. Dunphy said five apprentices started a class Sept. 16.
“Right now the construction work that’s available isn’t much,” Dunphy said. “For now, we won’t have classes going on in Eagle all the time but we’ll have staff there. There will be at least one 40-hour class every three months.”
According to its website, http://www.swcarpenters.org, the union spends $28 million annually to provide training for its members.
“The Eagle facility is something we’ve wanted to get going for a while and we finally got the funds,” Dunphy said.
At the 2011 town board meeting, Michael Toughill, a local member of the carpenter’s union for 37 years, expressed strong support.
“I have been trying for 16 years to get this facility,” he said. “Apprentice carpenters really need this option because they have to go all the way to Denver for training.”
Eagle Valley Enterprise Editor Pam Boyd contributed to this report.