EDISON — In front of a sea of state and local dignitaries and union carpenter leaders, Gov. Phil Murphy said New Jersey was built with union hands and working together, union hands will build a strong future.
The Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters opened the doors to its new, state-of-the-art New Jersey Carpenters Apprentice Training Center on Fieldcrest Avenue in Raritan Center on March 29.
“This facility is central to that effort,” Murphy said.
Murphy joined elected officials, local businesses and organizations, and the public, including Rep. Frank Pallone (D-Middlesex, Monmouth), State Sen. Joseph Cryan (D-Union), State Assemblyman Jon Bramnick (R-Union), State Sen. Patrick Diegnan (D-Middlesex), the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters’ Executive Board, staff and members and various representatives from the New Jersey Legislature and Department of Labor.
Also on hand were contractors, architects and developers who helped construct the facility.
“Our new Carpenters Training Center is custom designed to fit the needs of our membership and provide our apprentice and journeyman carpenters with the best equipment and training offered in the industry,” said John Ballantyne, NRCC’s executive secretary-treasurer. “Individuals who are interested in a good paying career with great health/retirement benefits and zero college debt should consider a career as a union carpenter.”
Jack Kocsis, of the Associated Construction Contractors of New Jersey, said thousands of apprentices will train at the facility in Edison.
“This could not have been done without the contractors and associations. … It’s a marriage within the industry,” he said.
The new training center features classrooms retrofitted with state-of-the-art audio and visual technology; spacious hands-on training for all skill sets in carpentry, flooring, mill-cabinet, millwright and pile driving trades; and an overhead bridge crane for rigging steel concrete forms, pile driving materials and millwright equipment.
The center also features 14 welding booths; a fully equipped cabinet shop to support training for the center’s mill-cabinet program; and a 300-seat auditorium with theater seating for NRCC meetings and conferences, professional presentations and apprentice orientations and graduations.
Kocsis said the opening of the facility also represents the NRCC’s commitment to the future and community outreach of the carpenter trade, which he said will include more women and minorities.
The NJ Apprenticeship Executive Director, Ridgeley Hutchinson, said a lot of heart went into the training center.
“We talked about building a training center for a long time,” he said.
Pallone said on the federal level, he is supporting a “Better Deal” platform of a series of pro-labor reforms aimed at strengthening the collective bargaining and the rights of workers, tax credits for employers who hire union workers and the creation of networks such as NRCC.
New Jersey State Sen. Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester) said the ribbon cutting is not only opening the doors of a new training facility, but is also providing a pathway for good jobs and the opportunities for hardworking men and women to have careers that will provide for themselves and their families.
“By combining job training with classroom education, you are empowering apprentice carpenters with the skills needed to compete in the modern economy,” he said. “A skilled workforce is one of the most important components of a growing economy that offers opportunities to everyone.”
The NRCC, which is one of the largest trade unions on the East Coast, represents nearly 40,000 men and women in Delaware and New Jersey, and portions of Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania.