Labor union partners with Virginia community colleges to train pipeline workers

Published: Jan. 26, 2018 at 5:36 PM EST
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A labor union is working with Virginia's community colleges to recruit and train people to work on a natural gas pipeline project.

According to a release, the Laborers' International Union of North America, or LIUNA, announced a partnership with the Virginia Community College System on Friday.

It aims to train Virginia residents to work on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project that will extend from West Virginia, through Virginia, and into North Carolina.

"This partnership reinforces LIUNA's commitment to recruit and train as many Virginia residents as possible to work on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline," said Dennis Martire, vice president and regional manager of LIUNA Mid-Atlantic. "This project is going to provide middle-class wages and family health benefits to hundreds of our members across Virginia."

He also says more than half of the workforce for the pipeline will be from communities near the construction.

Workers will be trained at six community colleges, which will be picked for their proximity to the pipeline route, including Piedmont, Dabney S. Lancaster, Blue Ridge, Southside Virginia, Paul D. Camp and Tidewater.

The training will cover several aspects of the pipeline project, including installing environmental control devices, performing ground clearing, coating and installing pipe, and restoring the right of way.

“Virginia’s Community Colleges are dedicated to providing workforce training opportunities to people throughout the commonwealth. This partnership is another opportunity for us to help connect Virginians with good-paying jobs,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges.

“Not only are Virginians proud to work on a project that will help reduce their state’s carbon emissions and bring affordable, dependable energy to Virginia, but they want to work on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline because they know this opportunity will lead them to a promising career in the construction industry,” said Martire.

Some preliminary construction began last weekend, and Virginia LIUNA members are already on site for ground preparation.

LIUNA expects there to be a ramp-up in the need for workers beginning in March.

Dominion Energy spokesman Aaron Ruby has previously told WHSV that he projects full construction of the pipeline, which Dominion estimates will create more than 17,000 jobs and generate $2.7 billion in economic activity, will begin in early spring, pending final permits that haven't yet been issued.