There is a boom in the pipeline construction industry resulting in a need for expanded training to supply qualified workers. The National Pipeline Training Fund (NPTF), which was established by IUOE and the Pipe Line Contractors Association, provides financial support for a comprehensive pipeline training program. The NPTF sponsors more than two dozen three-week classes annually and offers additional training courses for bending engineering and the John Henry rock drill. Classes are offered regionally at various local union training sites throughout the U.S.
Training classes use up-to-date pipeline equipment, including angle dozers, excavators, side-booms and a pipe bending machine and all participants receive illustrated workbooks specific to that equipment. The availability of this equipment improves hands-on accessibility and allows IUOE members to learn skills that are directly applicable to pipeline work. The basic course includes pipeline work orientation, digging and grading procedures, hand signals, maintenance, pipeline terms, and the significance of the job steward’s duties and responsibilities. The classroom segment of the course covers a wide variety of material including general pipeline construction practices and innovations, the clearing process and restoration techniques and the history of the pipeline industry. Participants gain an understanding of the rationale for using different pipeline equipment. Safety principles are an essential part of the course.
The IUOE National Training Fund (NTF), in coordination with the Pipeline Training Fund and the Midwest Energy Association (MEA), administer pipeline operator qualification (OQ) evaluations of the 13 equipment operator tasks identified under the Department of Transportation Operations and Maintenance Standards. NTF maintains an OQ database with over 7,000 evaluated operators and almost 150 active evaluators, allowing certification information to be forwarded to a requesting contractor within 24 hours.