Apprenticeship: Heat and Frost Insulators Local 49

Are you interested in a career that invests in the future and supports our planet? Heat and frost insulators significantly lower energy costs and help create a lighter carbon footprint.

They have been “green” for more than 100 years. Mechanical insulators have the skills and problem-solving strategies critical to meeting the challenges of the most demanding mechanical insulation applications.

Heat and frost insulators install mechanical insulation solutions in some of the most challenging environments: nuclear plants, military facilities, manufacturing and chemical plants, retail malls, hospitals, university and educational buildings and more. The men and women of the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators, Local 49 (based in Duluth, Minn.) are on the front line in meeting the challenges of building a safer, healthier, greener and more efficient world.

“Union professionals of Local 49 and partner mechanical, insulation and fire-stopping contractors are meeting the growing demands of the modern world and are helping their clients save energy – and money,” said apprenticeship coordinator Mark Lindholm. “Industrial, commercial, residential and government users all demand new levels of energy efficiency, state-of-the-art fire safety, and pollutant-free environments in which to live and work.”

Apprenticeship Program
Members of the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, Local 49, receive a combination of on-the-job training and classroom instruction. Each apprentice spends a minimum of four years in the classroom, studying math, blueprint interpretation, application techniques, pattern layout, workplace safety, and supervision, while learning on the job under the oversight of a journeyperson.

Extensive on-the-job training puts these skills to work in the real world of mechanical insulation. Apprentices work with expert mechanical insulators throughout all four years, gaining invaluable hands-on training and experience. Strategic rotations give apprentices the opportunity to work with many contractors. They learn, practice and perfect the skills for a wide variety of installation methods, solutions and environments.

“As our world transitions from legacy energy to a carbon-free world, the skills that heat and frost insulators bring to the table will be even more critical,” said Sarah Lechowich, senior director with the Construction Careers Foundation (constructioncareers.org). “To succeed in this career path, you need to think like an engineer while working with your hands.”

Apprentices are paid for their on-the-job training, with pay levels increasing every two thousand hours worked. Apprentices end their training as fully qualified mechanical insulators ready to continue work in multiple thermal and cooling environments. Work is installed by professional mechanical insulators that have achieved journeyperson status in the union through a multi-year classroom and 1,600-hour per year on-the-job training program.

Not just a job, a profession
After completing the program, apprentices are experienced mechanical insulators who have worked successfully in the most demanding thermal and cooling mechanical insulation applications. Trained by the best in the profession, members of Local 49 have the skills, problem solving strategies and know-how to meet the challenges of the most demanding mechanical insulation applications. In other words, these mechanical insulators don’t just have jobs, they have careers.

Interested in an apprenticeship?

Here’s how to apply for an apprenticeship with Local 49:

1. Interested individuals should visit the union’s office at 2002 London Road, Suite 210, Duluth, Minnesota, to sign up with the apprenticeship program. Make sure to call ahead about available office hours (especially during Covid-19 pandemic) at 218-724-3223.

The International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers is a trade union in the United States and Canada. Image of Local 49 Website

2. Pre-Apprentice registration is conducted the first Tuesday of each month. 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. The next available signup date is January 5th. After a person has expressed interest and has signed up with the Joint Apprenticeship Committee, their name will be added to the list of registrants. PLEASE NOTE: This is not an announcement of employment, nor one of apprenticeship vacancy. The Joint Apprenticeship Committee maintains a list of all registrants. If opportunities develop, only persons that have registered will be considered.

3. There is a work component. Pre-apprentice candidates must work a minimum of 160 hours in the field as a permit helper. If you or someone you know is interested in the apprenticeship program and would like to get experience as a “permit helper” in the field, he/she must come to the hall and fill out a permit helper dues authorization form; this can be done at any time, but must accompany signing up as a pre-apprentice on the date(s) specified above. Applicants must be 18 years of age or older, bring their driver’s license, provide their Social Security Number and if they have OSHA 10 or 30 training (bring a certificate of completion).

**Signing up as a permit helper does not guarantee employment or placement within the apprenticeship program. Permit helpers must sign up for the pre-apprenticeship program — see above. Permit helpers will not be considered for work opportunities if they have not signed up with the apprenticeship program during pre-apprentice sign up date(s). Furthermore: Permit helpers are not to call or solicit work from the officers or hall staff. If there is a call out for work opportunities, we will contact applicants as work becomes available.

4. If there are opportunities to take on new apprentices, the Joint Apprenticeship Committee will interview apprentice candidates.

5. Apprentice candidates must also take a skills assessment, which requires eligible candidates to perform basic arithmetic.

If you have any further questions about the process or what work as an Insulator entails, please contact the Local 49 JATC office for more information regarding the apprenticeship program, including the process, classes, schedules, and training information.