Operating Engineers

What is an Operating Engineer?
Operating Engineers are key employees on most construction sites. They are responsible for the safe operation and maintenance of the precise and expensive heavy construction equipment; such as cranes, backhoes, loaders, scrapers, bulldozers, rollers, etc. used in the construction of our buildings, factories, roads, dams, power plants and bridges. Because this occupation takes you outside as opposed to the restricting environment of an indoor job, you must be comfortable working in a wide range of weather conditions.

What is a Heavy Equipment Mechanic Technician?
Heavy Equipment Mechanic Technicians play a vital role in the timely completion of construction projects by ensuring that all equipment in the fleet is in safe, top working condition. The work of a Heavy Equipment Mechanic Technician can be very demanding. Long hours of work in all types of weather may be required. But, those with a willingness to succeed can find themselves in a very rewarding life-long career.

More About the Training Program
The WPOEJATP Training Site is situated on 137 acres in New Alexandria, Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania. Various types of heavy construction equipment ranging from skidsteers and forklifts to cranes and bulldozers are available for training by both journeymen and apprentice Operating Engineers. Numerous designated equipment training areas, a large maintenance shop, and 2 buildings housing multiple classrooms and offices, are all part of the complex.

During field training Operator Apprentices are assigned to a specific machine and are under the supervision of a skilled and experienced instructor. Over the course of the program field training includes instruction on at least 5 major types of heavy equipment that would commonly be found on construction projects. During classroom instruction you will receive training in hazardous material handling, equipment maintenance, mechanical systems and reading grade stakes, as well as techniques used in the operation of various machines.The term of apprenticeship is a minimum of four years and 4,000 hours of on-the-job-training. Classroom and training site time consists of five to seven weeks each year.

Mechanic Technician Apprentices develop the skills necessary to maintain, troubleshoot and perform repairs of various mechanical systems on a wide range of equipment. This includes everything from engines and transmissions on backhoes and bulldozers to hydraulic and electrical systems on cranes and graders. While attending classes at the Training Site Mechanic Technician Apprentices receive both classroom and hands-on instruction in the latest methods of equipment maintenance and repair. The term of apprenticeship in the Mechanic Technician program is 4 years and 6,000 hours of on-the-job training and from five to seven weeks of instruction per year at the Training Site.

On-the-Job Training for Operator and Mechanic Technician Apprentices
When you are not training at the site you will be available for work with a large number of local employers through the Local Union's Dispatch Office. This gives you the opportunity to earn a paycheck, medical and retirement benefits while gaining additional knowledge and skill. However, due to the cyclical nature of this work, we cannot guarantee steady employment.

What Will this Opportunity Cost Me?
The majority of apprentice training costs are paid by the union members, employers and employer associations. Although the Program is tuition free, there are minimal costs involved such as a small application fee, the cost of books used in classroom training and union membership fees.

For more information see www.wpaoperators.org