The Finishing Trades Institute (FTI) Training Center of West Virginia & Region has announced its ambitious plans to leverage the existing elevated water tank on its premises for comprehensive training programs. This development marks a significant milestone for the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), as the facility becomes the sole training center in the United States equipped with a full-sized elevated tank.
Brian Stanley, Co-chair of the FTI of West Virginia and Business Manager/Secretary Treasurer of IUPAT District Council 53 spoke about the project:
“I am very excited that trainers across the US and Canada can come here to learn and teach Tank Painting Curriculum.” BM/ST Stanley goes on to emphasize that “I am also excited to partner with vendors on this project to showcase products and best practices for this project. We at the IUPAT pride ourselves on training the best skilled workforce. The tank training committee has done so much work to accomplish this project.”
Demand for elevated tanks has been limited in West Virginia as the Appalachian area has more ground storage tanks. However, recognizing the need for specialized training opportunities, the FTI Training Center took the initiative to utilize the tank and create a state-of-the-art training facility. By repurposing the existing tank, the center saves considerable costs that would have otherwise been required to build a new one.
The idea of utilizing the tank had been discussed since the center’s acquisition in 2009, but it wasn’t until five years ago that serious consideration was given to the project. Two years ago, plans finally materialized, leading to the formation of a committee comprising members from various IUPAT District Councils across the US and Canada and personnel from the International Union in Hanover, Maryland. Recent steel repairs have rejuvenated the project, attracting more participants and generating renewed enthusiasm.
To ensure the feasibility of funding, the FTI Training Center reached out to industry leaders such as suppliers and contractors, who generously provided donations and reduced costs for the purpose of building a skilled workforce. Additionally, councils from across the country are contributing their labor to help build the tank, enhancing the overall training experience and saving funds. In return, these councils will have access to the facility for training their own members.
Prominent organizations, including the Association for Materials Protection and Performance (AMPP), are actively involved in the project. They are collaborating in drafting specifications and assisting in the development of training curricula. “We are very proud and excited to have been asked by the IUPAT to participate in this project. As we all know, well trained craftworkers are in extremely short supply in our industry today” adds Dave Evans, AMPP’s Director of QP & Coatings Credentialing. “This project provides a wonderful opportunity for students to acquire an excellent education in the specialty field of elevated water tank coating application, combining a exceptional classroom learning experience with real world hands-on job training at an outstanding training facility.”
The repair work on the tank is expected to be completed by the summer of 2024, including the implementation of a comprehensive training curriculum by that fall. Training programs will cover various aspects such as mobilization, containment, blasting, and lead abatement. As the job progresses, all important procedures will be documented on film to capture vital training elements.
While the completion of the project will take approximately two and a half months, the impact of this initiative will last far longer. With the input of numerous stakeholders and industry experts, the curriculum is expected to be relevant for the next two decades, with updates and new technologies being integrated along the way.
The establishment of the FTI Training Center’s elevated tank facility underscores the commitment of the IUPAT to providing exceptional training opportunities for its members and the industry at large. As other District Councils express interest in utilizing this unique resource, the center is poised to become a national hub for elevated tank training.
BM/ST Stanley emphasizes the importance of the elevated tank training, not only to IUPAT members and our industry, but in providing opportunities for his community:
“This is a monumental opportunity to train the next generation of elevated tank painters. This tank gives us so many opportunities to teach rigging, containment, surface preparation, coating application and inspection. I’m proud that the FTI of West Virginia is poised to become a national hub for elevated tank training, and look forward to the opportunity that it provides for my community and IUPAT members across the nation.”