Program will graduate students into industry training


Oct 15, 2009

Located on the northern edge of Des Moines, Saydel High School is a small but progressive school with big goals. Working with a local labor union, the school has implemented a program that will prepare students to enter high-demand careers shortly after graduation.

Ten students from Saydel High School’s construction shop class have entered a pilot program that will allow them direct entry into United Association Plumbers and Steamfitters Local Union 33 once they graduate. As Local 33 apprentices, they will receive training in plumbing, heating, air conditioning, medical gas, high purity piping, water treatment and other specialties.

Local 33 has signed an articulation agreement with Des Moines Area Community College, in conjunction with Iowa Workforce Development, that will allow pre-apprentice students to get credit toward an associate’s degree.

Linda Phillips, an independent contractor with Career and Life Transition Counseling, brokered the agreement between Saydel High School and Local 33.

In the union’s five-year program, apprentices spend 246 hours in classroom training and 1,700 to 2,000 hours of on-the-job training with contractors.

Local 33 currently has 230 apprentices between 19 and 45 years old, and the average age is mid- to late-twenties. Last year they added 60 apprentices. Graduates of the apprenticeship program become journeymen plumbers, pipefitters, steamfitters, HVAC technicians, building automation technicians and refrigeration specialists.

For more information, visit Local Union 33 online at