This is No Pipe Dream: Start Your Career as a Steamfitter or Pipefitter

Apply Now for an apprenticeship with the Steamfitters and Pipefitters Local 455 in St. Paul and Mankato.

From welding pipes in an oil refinery to installing steam systems beneath a city street, the members of Local 455 keep critical systems intact. While their work is rarely in the public eye, steamfitters and pipefitters take pride in a job well done.

“A career as a steamfitter or pipefitter offers a powerful growth opportunity for the person who likes working with their hands. It offers solid pay, great benefits and daily challenges for people who like to think on their feet,” said Jeremy McConkey, Training Director, for Local 455. “It takes hard work and dedication to complete an apprenticeship, but the career opportunities take graduates to job sites all over the Twin Cities and beyond.”

Pipefitters install, maintain, and repair high and low-pressure steam systems; high and low-pressure hot water systems; snow-melting systems; refrigeration systems; heating, gas and oil piping; HVAC systems, and pneumatic and electronic controls. They also provide instrumentation and valve repair.

Minnesota is facing a shortage of skilled laborers in certain industries. Local 455’s apprenticeship system offers an opportunity for young people to start earning money instantly, gain experience and salary increases through on-the-job training and classroom instruction.

“Steamfitters and pipefitters work at a wide range of job sites, including residential, commercial, and industrial installations. They also may work at locations which provide maintenance, and repair services,” McConkey said. “Apprentices also need to be prepared to work in all types of weather conditions, since much of the work does occur in the outdoors.”

Pipefitters and steamfitters work in all aspects of the heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, and temperature control fields.

“This goes beyond what people think of as a typical construction site,” McConkey said. “We are employed at oil refineries, chemical plants, food processing facilities, manufacturing plants, retail and wholesale food stores, and ice rinks.”

McConkey added that maintenance pipefitters from Local 455 also work at the University of Minnesota, Saint Paul School District, the Metropolitan Council, Saint Paul Government Center, and Energy Park.

“We also have pipefitters installing and maintaining refrigeration trucks, trailers, and buses at Thermo King Sales and Service,” McConkey said. “There are plenty of career opportunities for young people to find which area most interests them.”

Local 455 Steamfitters and pipefitters have 21 jurisdiction counties of work in Minnesota such as Dakota, Washington, Le Sueur, Pipestone and Blue Earth to name a few.

Applying to the Local 455 Apprenticeship Program

Local 455 accepts applications year-round. After completing an application, schedule and take an assessment test at Saint Paul College. To be accepted in the Local 455’s program for 2021, complete the application and assessment test by mid-April.

A career as a pipefitter/steamfitter begins with training in a pre-apprentice training program. The pipefitting diploma program is a full-time (40 credits), day-school program for two semesters starting fall and continuing through spring semester at Saint Paul College — A community & technical college located near downtown Saint Paul at 235 Marshall Avenue in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

All tuition, books, and fees are the responsibility of the student for the duration of the program. Tuition is regulated by and paid to Saint Paul College. The current tuition rate is approximately $173.27 – $273.27 per credit.

The apprenticeship program consists of aggressive training in a wide variety of areas necessary to become a successful journeyman pipefitter.

“The first four years of the apprenticeship program are a combination of information and hands-on training to prepare for the fifth and final year of the program,” McConkey said. “The fifth year of the program is preparation and testing for city and state licenses required to perform the work of a pipefitter in this area.”

To begin the application process and read more information click here: https://local455.com/for-members/union-links/

“The Local 455 apprenticeship program equips apprentices with knowledge of blueprint reading, OSHA training, welding, industrial refrigeration and hot water heating to name a few,” said Sarah Lechowich, senior director with the Construction Careers Foundation (ConstructionCareers.org). “Young people who join a paid construction apprenticeship gain economic stability and professional advancement opportunities within the union.”

To be eligible, applicants:
● Must be 18 years of age.
● Must be high school graduates or present GED equivalent.
● Must be able to consistently lift more than 50 lbs. and be in good physical shape.
● Must enjoy working indoors and outdoors and be comfortable working in confined spaces.
● Must pass the ACCUPLACER assessment (Assess skills in reading, math, and spatial/mechanical aptitude).
● Must turn in completed application with all required information by the application deadline.
● Provide their own transportation to get to the job and classroom.

For more information, check out the website at www.local455jatc.com. If you have any further questions about the process or what apprenticeship entails, please contact the Local 455 Apprenticeship Program for more information regarding classes, schedules, and training information.

Local 455 Training Director
Jeremy McConkey