Iowa City In Focus: Building Trades Apprenticeship Programs


[sound of welding][theme music] Business is booming for the building trades. “It pays really well. I know they have a good training program.” [sound of home demolition] Plus, the City makes progress on its flood
mitigation plan. “To buy these homes, to make sure that they
never flood again, and to create permanent green space.” And, learn what makes College Green a great
place to call home. “It’s a very lively part of the City” And it all starts right now, on this edition
of Iowa City In Focus. [theme music] As Iowa City continues to expand, more jobs
are becoming available to build the infrastructure to support that growth. And our community has options for people who
want to start a career in the building trades. We see them go up before our eyes. We walk by them and admire their beauty. But most of us probably don’t stop to think
about who builds these structures. It takes a group of experts, each a master
of their specific trade. And they all started their careers the same
way, through an apprenticeship program. “Apprenticeship, especially in the construction
building trades, is centuries old. The basic concept is that a new person who
doesn’t know a lot about his specific trade is paired up with a master or a journey worker
in that professional trade.” There are over a dozen different trade apprenticeships
offered in the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City area. “Most apprentices will have a three to five
year program, depending on the trade.” These union supported programs train individuals
to master a skilled craft. “They all have classroom training involved,
with the hands-on portion of the learning.” It offers a good mix of classroom work and
on-the-job experience. “It’s a very top notch education, especially
now-a-days. It’s come a lot further than it used to
be.” “We do a lot of hands-on training, a lot
of book training.” “All jobs you would do as a journeyman so
you’re learning how to put pipe in, you’re learning your measurements, you’re learning
how traps work.” “I like that it’s really hands-on, and that you work with the tools it’s manual labor and something to be proud of because you actually have work accomplished
at the end of the day.” Being able to see the payoff in your hard work is big benefit. “I love being able to turn around and see
what I’ve done on a daily basis.” “You know, it’s gratifying, it’s rewarding. So at the end of the day we actually see a
physical accomplishment of what we’ve been doing all day.” “It is nice being able to do something,
and then at the end of the flip the switch and turn the light on.” And while you are earning an education, you
also get to take home a paycheck. “They are given a job from day one, so instead
of jobs training it’s jobs that train. So they are paid while they train. That’s why we call it earn while you learn.” That’s a big draw for many of the apprentices. “It’s nice being able to take home a paycheck
that will pay the bills and get stuff taken care of at home while you are still getting
the education that you’ll need.” “I wanted benefits, I wanted 40 hours, stability,
and I go all of it.” “Getting paid while you’re being taught how
to do something is very beneficial. You get a raise every six months. Plus, you get education on top of it.” These trades are in high demand, and the apprenticeship
program offers another option of continued education. “I wanted to go to college because I thought
that was the right thing that I needed to do I realized that it just wasn’t going to
fit me to be in an office all day, so it’s nice being able to move around and
do different things day to day.” Once an apprentice has completed their classroom
work and job-site training, they must prove that they have mastered their trade to achieve
the journey-level status. “It was hard, I’m not going to lie. It was very tough to get through the test
out process. I respect anybody who can pass it. It’s not an easy task.” In the end, all of your hard work will be rewarded with
a wide range of career opportunities. “When our apprenticeship is done in that
3-5 years we have that journeymen ticket that says we can go anywhere in the country, we
have this skillset that we can use.” So the next time you find yourself walking by a construction
site… ask yourself, could I build that? “If you like working with your hands and
building things then it’s going to be a good job for you.” [music] [sound of dog splash] “We are at the Dog Paddle. It’s at City Park Pool and instead of people and kids jumping into the pool, it seems to be golden retrievers and black labs, primarily. The Iowa River is an integral part of the
Iowa City community. But when the waters rise this beautiful body
of water quickly becomes a powerful threat destroying whatever is in its path. And since the flood of 2008, the City has
been working to help people move out harm’s way. “We’re going to buy the homes out, demolish
them and convert it to permanent green space.” It’s been nearly a decade since the record
breaking flood of 2008, but the memory remains fresh. “A lot of those that were in the 100 to
500 year floodplain>inundated with water, they had a lot of damage.” As soon as the waters had receded, the City
immediately began planning for the next major event. “It’s just a matter of time when the area
will flood again, so we wanted to reduce the likelihood of homes being flooded and people
being displaced due to the flooding.” To do that the City started a flood buyout
program, leveraging FEMA and HUD grants to cover the cost. “They helped us out with over $25 million
dollars in flood assistance to buy the homes out and demolish.” The City identified homeowners in the 100
and 500 year floodplains who wanted to relocate rather than risk another devastating loss. “They did not want to live through another
flood. Not to the magnitude of 2008.” The land is then converted to green space
to enhance trails and parks along the river. The program is voluntary, and there are some
who have chosen to remain along the river. “And the neighbors that remain here truly
love the river and want to stay.” The City recently reached a big milestone,
purchasing it’s 100th home as part of the program. And while nearly all the homes the City bought
were demolished, one was kept due to its historic significance. “Out of the hundred homes the only property
that remains standing is the Ned Ashton house.” The historic home was designed to withstand
flooding, and can be rented out for public use such as weddings, meetings or other gatherings. And while the City was working to remove homes
along the river, it was also working to build new houses outside of the floodplain. In the same time it bought the 100 properties
as part of the flood buyout program, the City helped 141 eligible homebuyers purchase newly
constructed homes City officials will continue to apply for
funds for the flood buyout program, hoping to avoid a repeat of the devastating flood
of 2008. “We are trying to do the best we can to
stop that from happening again to some other family.” At first glance, many probably see the College
Green Neighborhood as a community of college students. And while rentals units make up a large portion
of the area, the makeup of this neighborhood is much more complex than that. “I love the neighborhood because it’s very
diverse.” “There’s a lot of college students, a
lot of teachers and people who work for the University.” “The diverse character of the neighborhood
is really nice.” “People don’t realize that in our neighborhood
there are these interactions and connections that go over decades.” Facilitating many of those interactions is
Nancy Carlson, a longtime resident of the College Green Neighborhood. “When I came here in 1965 as a student,
I never thought that over 50 years late I would still be here.” Located just east of downtown, College Green
is Iowa City’s oldest neighborhood. The area is home to many college students,
but it’s much more that. “We have lots of renters, we have lots of
older people who are in there 80s or 90s. We don’t have just one age class or one
economic class. We have a great mixture of everybody and that’s
what makes our neighborhood very interesting and very vibrant.” That’s a sentiment that other homeowners
can relate to. “I have two houses and I rent to international
scholars. A lot of visiting faculty. And it’s wonderful to meet people from every
continent all over the world.” “I like being around younger people. You know, interacting with younger people
and learning about what they are doing and taking an interest in their studies.” And many students appreciate the diversity
as well. “It’s a lot of college students but it’s
still a pretty good mix. I see people from all walks around here and
it’s just really fun to meet everyone.” Mixed among the variety of houses, duplexes
and apartments, you will notice another trend in College Green. “There are a lot of sororities in our neighborhood,
so a lot of students.” Having nine of the University’s thirteen
sororities in the neighbor adds some color and energy to the neighborhood. “I really enjoy living across the street
from another from another sorority and living in the same neighborhood as nine other sororities.” Alpha Chi Omega and the rest of the College
Green Neighborhood were shocked on the evening of April 13th, 2006 “We knew something pretty dramatic was happening. We went down in the basement and it sounded
basically like a freight train was coming over the house.” An EF-2 tornado tore through Iowa City that
evening, leveling homes and businesses. “I found a 4X4 section of the Alpha Chi
Omega roof right in front of my house.” The sorority, like many other structures,
was totaled and had to be replaced. “So it took a lot of the community, especially
the greek community,  to sort of clean up the place.” In all $12 million dollars in damages were
occurred, but no serious injuries were reported. “Nothing short of a miracle that someone
didn’t get killed in that tornado really.” College Green and the rest of the City came
together to recover from the devastation. Being protected by the conservation district
helped ensure that the historic integrity of the homes were maintained during the rebuild. And that’s another thing the neighborhood
boasts, a wide range of historical buildings and architectural styles. “A lot of the houses in the neighborhood
have an interesting history. If you look at the brick structure behind
me that was originally a dairy.” “I like the old houses, I like the front
porches, I like the interaction of the people in my neighborhood.” College Green is also one of the closest neighborhoods
to downtown. “It’s the best of both because it’s
has the spaciousness of a more suburban location but it’s extremely walkable. It’s the golden quarter mile to downtown
cultural events and restaurants.” “Where so close to downtown Iowa City which
puts us within walking range of walking to events downtown, the library of course, New
Pioneer Coop is just about five blocks away.” And at the center of the neighborhood is College
Green Park “Me and my roommates come here all the time. Play some basketball, throw the football around.” “There are people that play frisbee, slackline,
football.” “Iowa City’s becoming more and more populated,
more big buildings coming up, so it’s nice to have some green space.” The neighborhood is a constant flow of friendly
faces. “I really like that there is always people
around, it’s such a community.” “A lot of people pass by here, it’s really
friendly. I get to see people, people I know, people
I don’t know. So it’s meeting new people, which is cool
especially as a college student.” “I like seeing people that aren’t just
students around the neighborhood. I like seeing dogs, I like seeing kids. It makes it seem a lot more like home when
I’m here.” And for those living there, they love that
something is happening around the clock. “There is always activity going on, there
are always people on the street running, walking their dogs, going to work, coming home from
work, going to the bars, coming home from the bars. So there is always activity.” “You never get bored on College Green. Never” For any cyclist, using hand signals is very
important. It’s equally important for drivers to understand
what they mean. That way we can all clearly communicate when
sharing the road. The first step is to look behind you, making
drivers or other cyclists aware of your intentions to change lanes or make a turn. A cyclist can signal that they intend to turn
left by extending their left arm straight out from the body, pointing left. You should perform the signal around 100 feet
before you make the turn. That allows enough time for others on the
road to react. For a right turn, the cyclist should use their
left arm at 90 degree angle, pointing up. This is the right turning signal recognized
by Iowa Code, and we recommend you use it. It’s worth pointing out that another common
method is to use the right arm, pointing straight out. Make sure to hold each signal for at least
three seconds, allowing others time to notice it. To stop, the rider should extend their left
arm out at a right angle with your open hand facing down. Not only is using signals important for your
safety, it’s also the law. So whether you’re biking or driving, it’s
important that you know these signals to make sure everyone on the road is safe. Next time on Iowa City In Focus… There are some big changes coming to the City’s
recycling program. Tune in to learn about single stream recycling. And, let us know what topics you would like
to see covered in future shows. Email us at info at city channel four dot
com. Or reach on Facebook by liking the City of
Iowa City Government page. Have a great November. We’ll see you next month on Iowa City In
Focus

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