Union apprentices compete in skills contest

Apr. 25—LIMA — The next generation of Ohio's union plumbers, welders and pipefitters have been in Lima to put their training to the test.

Apprentices from the 15 United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters and Service Technicians locals throughout Ohio gathered this week at UA Local 776 in Lima to compete in a skills contest to test the skills they gained through their apprenticeship, each vying for a spot in the union's District 2 Regional Contest taking place in June in Pittsburgh. Pipefitter Charles Bohn and welder John Wehri represented UA Local 776 in the contest.

Wehri won second place in the welding portion of the state apprenticeship contest.

According to UA Local 776 training coordinator Kiel Dennison, the contest focused on five areas: HVAC, sprinkler fitting, welding, plumbing and pipefitting. Participants had a variety of tasks or projects to complete.

"They are top tier," Dennison said. "Honestly, a lot of these guys would be typical journeymen out in the field. That's how high-level these apprentices are."

Once completed, the participants were honored with an awards banquet Thursday at Veterans Memorial Civic Center.

For Dennison, this contest not only offers an opportunity for apprentices like Bohn and Wehri to show their skills, but it also helps provide confidence for apprentices preparing to take their skills to the job site in what is a lucrative career.

"What people don't realize is, before long, these guys will be making six figures," he said.