The Steel Erectors Association of America announces that the Ironworker Skills Institute, Pell City, Ala., which educates future generations of ironworkers, will receive this year’s SEAA Craft Training Grant.

(Left to Right) Grady McCombs, instructor, Patty Daigle, administrator, and Rick Clay, instructor, of the Ironworker Skills Institute, received the 2020 Training Grant from SEAA.

Designated for member companies who are newly implementing SEAA/NCCER Ironworker Training and Assessment programs, the grant covers initial setup, training for administrators, instructors, and coordinators, and custom training materials for Ironworker Levels 1-3, or similar curriculum.

“The committee awarded Ironworker Skills Institute the craft training grant based on its unparalleled commitment to recruiting and developing future Ironworkers. The impact that they have made on their community in such a short period of time really is incredible,” said Bryan McClure, Chairman of SEAA’s Safety & Education committee.

Now in its fifth year of operation, the Ironworker Skills Institute was established by John Garrison of Garrison Steel, for ironworkers to get training on rigging, welding, and the use of safety equipment and tools. In 2017 Garrison was able to partner with a local community college, where he taught classes. After the first semester, he realized the Institute needed a place of its own, and moved it permanently to property next to his company. Today, instructors teach students from area high schools, who come from as far away as an hour’s drive.

“With this grant, we can provide students with their own course materials, which can be a resource to them in the future,” said Patty Daigle, ISI director. “It will also allow us to incorporate new technology into our training program, which is growing and changing as we learn the needs of the high schools we work with.”

With an average of 25 new high school juniors, seniors and recent graduates each fall, the Institute uses NCCER coursework and live situations in its training programs. The organization plans to offer adult education classes in January 2021. “It is an honor to receive this grant,” said Daigle. “We thank SEAA, and hope we can continue to make them proud in our efforts to train ironworkers in Alabama.”