No other organization serves the training needs of the piping industry like the United Association. For over a century, the UA has been training the most highly-qualified workers in the United States and Canada.
Over the past several decades, the United Association's training programs have produced a stable, skilled workforce responsible for building and maintaining piping systems in the various industrial and residential facilities that make up the North American landscape.
No one can match the commitment or investment. The UA spends over $100 million annually on training programs efforts involving approximately 100,000 journeymen and apprentices in over 400 local training facilities at any given time.
Plumbers Local 5 began apprentice training in 1940. The original location was operated out of Abbott Vocational School on 7th St. N.W., Washington D.C. By 1944 the training program was registered by the National Apprenticeship Program. Like most local training programs of the time, the school shared facilities in a vocational school. In the 1950’s, when it became apparent that such facilities were inadequate to meet training requirements, the apprenticeship fund trustees of Local #5 and # 602 joined together to buy and operate a school building, our first school was located at 14th and R St. N.W. Washington D.C.
Once again facing growing pains, a new site in Landover Md. was located and purchased in the early 1970’s for 1.7 million. The building which was dedicated in 1975 has 34,000 square feet of space and occupies 2.5 acres. Once again feeling the need for expansion, an additional 6 acres of land was purchased along with a two story building covering 18,000 square feet of floor space.
The original building houses 13 classrooms and 3 shops where the latest techniques in plumbing, refrigeration and welding are taught. The second building also houses state of the art shop classes including a backflow lab, service shop, and gas lab. The addition of a residential piping trainer in 2005 and a commercial piping trainer in 2006 has helped to further hone the apprentice’s hands on skills.
Plumbers Local 5 Apprenticeship program is given direction from a Joint Apprentice Committee, chaired by Local 5 Business Manager Terriea L. Smalls with Christopher G. Biondi as Training Director, Hugh Riddell, Training Coordinator and Office Manager Ashley Taylor. The Plumbers have a training staff of 25 highly skilled Instructors with 43 teachers over the years having earned the title of Certified U.A. Instructor.
On June 1, 2015, we opened our new state-of-the-art training facility at 5000 Forbes Boulevard, Lanham, MD 20706. A new chapter in Local 5's history will begin as we meet the challenges of the twenty-first century, and continue our proud tradition of turning out the most highly trained journeypersons in our fields by selecting and training top candidates for our apprenticeship program, and continuing the training of skilled journeypersons.
Our apprentices and journeymen receive a variety of training that covers all aspects of the plumbing and gas fitting industry, including welder certification, backflow, medical gas, service and repair, c.a.d. training, code preparation along with all of the prescribed theory, math and science courses. The extensive academic courses are coupled with hands on shop classes through out each of their 5 years of apprenticeship with emphasis on quality.
Local 5 has utilized a rigorous practical module exam in the 4th year of apprenticeship since 1985. The module requires each apprentice to design per code, construct a set of 5 shop drawings and take off a 3 fixture wet vented bathroom. After the apprentice has meet all of the preparation requirements they must construct the project in our mock building from rough in to setting fixtures with a maximum time limit of 12 hours. Every 4th year apprentice must successfully complete this project and meet the strict grading criteria before they can advance to the 5th year of training.
All Local 5 Apprentices must obtain a jurisdictional Journeyman’s Plumber and Gasfitter licenses before they can graduate along with the other various U.A. certifications.
Plumbers Local 5 has an active Student Council that participates in many charitable endeavors throughout the school year, including a blood drive at the school, a Christmas Toys for Tots, Heat's on Waters Off, The Walk to Cure Diabetes and they have on several occasions come to the need of a fellow student who may be having financial difficulties.
Plumbers Local 5 has been serving the Nations Capitol and the metropolitan area for over 125 years working on a majority of the area’s most famous landmarks.
Local 5 stresses a high degree of dedication from its apprentices and journeymen and mixes traditional union values and workmanship along with cutting edge training.