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Ironworker program narrows field of applicants with cutthroat interview process

Participants are wrapping up week one in the interview process to become a part of the Ironworkers Local 751 Union Apprentice program.
Published: Jun. 10, 2022 at 12:34 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Participants are wrapping up week one in the interview process to become a part of the Ironworkers Local 751 Union apprentice program.

But, they also call it by another name: Hell Week.

“Just like when I was in boot camp in the military,” Andrew Lee, one of the trainees in the program, said.

The cutthroat interview process runs a week long. On average, the Local 751 loses about 50% of their applicants, according to Business Manager Anthony Ladd.

On Monday, the program started off with 10 candidates.

By Thursday morning, they were down to three.

“We try and introduce them to the realities of what being an ironworker is all about,” Ladd said. “So absolutely, people come with expectations of thinking they understand, but when you get here and start working into it, people find out it’s not for them.”

While the program is tough, Ladd said there is one group of people who are a perfect fit for the job: veterans. It is a demographic that they are working to target more workers from.

Program leaders meet with active-duty members six months prior to them leaving the service to discuss the opportunities that they have to offer. Then, once they leave the service, veterans have a job prospect awaiting them.

Ladd said veterans are a good fit for this job due to their ability to follow directions, think on the fly and work under pressure.

It also is a way of making them free like they have a purpose, providing a sense of value for veterans after leaving the Armed Forces.

“I can say, ‘Oh I built that’,” Lee said. “I built this.”

Those interested in applying can go to Alaska Works to find more information or visit the Ironworkers Local 751 website for more details.

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