Pipefitters install, assemble, fabricate, maintain, repair and troubleshoot mechanical piping systems carrying fuel, chemicals, water, steam and air in heating, cooling, lubricating and various other process piping systems. Pipefitting demands a wide array of skills and knowledge to be able to safely monitor and maintain high pressure piping systems that often carry hazardous materials.Clic para leer en espanol
Pipefitters are also known as Steamfitters, Industrial Pipefitters, and Pipefitting Fabricators
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Michael Villar of Repcon, an industrial services company, was the Pipefitting Competition project manager. Competitors in pipefitting had two separate tasksto complete, so half of the group worked to build a threaded pipe spool for three hours while the other half completed a welding project, and the two groups switched tasks after the lunch break. The tasks required the competitors to read a plan, gather the materials needed, measure and cut, thread, and assemble according to exact dimensions and orientation.
Next week the 2017 National Craft Championships, hosted by the Associated Builders and Contractors of America (ABC), will take place at the beautiful Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale. Prior to their trip to Florida, I was able to meet up with three of the craft trainees and apprentices from the Houston area who will be competing in the event. Each of these competitors is sponsored by the Construction and Maintenance Education Foundation (CMEF), the educational affiliate of ABC Greater Houston.
The 16-week program is instructed by a veteran as well: a KBR employee who is an NCCER Certified Plus Pipefitter and former Army medic. The course included NCCER curriculum, hands-on training and also incorporated KBR safety practices and aspects of KBR’S culture throughout the program. Before each task the students performed in the lab, and they accomplished a KBR Total Safety Task Inspection (TSTI) to mitigate and eliminate any possible injuries while performing their tasks. After graduation and separation from the Army, the soldiers will hire on to help staff KBR construction projects throughout the United States where they will be paired with an experienced pipefitting journeyman to “show them the ropes”.
Hands-on activities included craft areas such as pipefitting, welding, scaffolding, insulating, drywall, concrete finishing, instrumentation, rod busting, and electrical. Students also had an opportunity to operate crane and excavator simulators, man lift, and excavator as well as spend time speaking with construction professionals and college representatives at 21 different career information booths. All of these activities took place with the focus of the importance of safety in the workplace.
I asked Jordan to talk a little more about the FastTrack components, which are considered “stackable,” meaning that some students may choose to use their FastTrack certificate(s) as prior learning assessment toward an AAS (Associate of Applied Science) degree, which is a two-year degree plan designed for students who want to pursue training specifically geared for entering the workforce as quickly as possible. Jordan said: “When students complete our FastTrack programs, they have the opportunity to obtain employment and continue their education as well. … So not only do they have a certificate from FastTrack, but they can work and also attain additional education credits.”