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Members of the press and public are invited come to the Charleston Civic Center to see the best welders, pipefitters, sprinklerfitters and plumbers in the region compete during a free three-day event starting Tuesday, June 12.

“Apprentices in the Pipe Trades industry from West Virginia and surrounding states will be competing in five skill areas,” Brett Matthews, Director of Training, Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 625 in Charleston, said. “The winners will advance to an international contest later this year.”


There will be a special presentation and tour beginning at 10:00 am on Tuesday.

Kanawha County Commissioner Kent Carper will provide opening remarks for the presentation, which will feature a brief discussion by Delegate Scott Brewer of Mason County and Senator Glenn Jeffries of Putnam County, both of whom went through craft apprenticeship training. A representative from the United Association of Plumbers, Fitters, Welders and Service Techs will also talk about the training programs and industry demand.

“Contestants are apprentices in their fifth year of training,”  Matthews said.  “They will be undertaking various hands-on projects throughout the contest.”

Matthews also noted: 

• These apprenticeship programs are funded with private money - union workers and contractors chip in for every hour worked.
• The cost to apprentices is nothing. They earn while on the job and go to class at nights or weekends depending on the program.
•  Skilled workers are in demand and can earn great wages and benefits.

The event is open to the public and free of charge. 

What:         Pipe Trade Apprenticeship Contest 
When:        Opening presentation 10 a.m. Tuesday
Where:       Charleston Civic Center