For this month’s Fitter Feature, where 449 spotlights one of the many valuable members of our organization and highlights the accomplishments and unique journeys of our union brothers and sisters, we’re focusing on Thomas Doran, Building Trades Education Director at Local 449’s Technology Center located in Harmony, PA. 

Throughout May, Tom has been featured on Thursdays on our Facebook feed, discussing topics like the diversity of the trade, as well as detailing the process to apply for our apprenticeship program, taking place between June 3rd-June 22nd, 2024. Applicants must show up in person at the Steamfitters Technology Center to obtain and fill out an application, which has a $30 fee. Have you ever been interested in getting paid to learn in a growing industry without any loans upon graduation? Learn more about the Steamfitters Local Union 449 Apprenticeship below! 


Diversity Among Areas as a Steamfitter 

“In my opinion, we are the most diverse of all the trades,” says Tom, as he explains what all a Steamfitter could be. But what does that entail? Well, upon entry into the technology center you’ll see a sign for what a Steamfitter is and what an apprentice can learn:  

  • All Welding Processes 
  • Air Conditioning 
  • Energy Management 
  • HVAC Service   
  • Medical Gas 
  • Pipe Fabrication 
  • Process Piping 
  • Refrigeration 
  • Rigging 
  • Steam – Hot Water 
  • and more! 

Given the variety of areas to learn, Tom believes “we can spark an interest in someone!”  

What Makes an Ideal Steamfitter Apprentice?  

Maybe you just graduated high school. Maybe you graduated college and are looking for a new journey. Maybe you already have a job but don’t like it anymore. The good news is, a Steamfitter can be anyone! “We can give you the experience that you need, but a willingness to learn and a willingness to show up on time is important,” explains Tom. “If you’re willing to learn new things, we’ll teach you and give you the experience you need.” 

There is already currently a wide spectrum of male and female apprentices in the program who: 

  • Started in a trade school  
  • Graduated from high school 
  • Graduated from college 
  • Have been in the workforce and are looking for a change 
  • Veterans 

“When I graduated [from college], I didn’t want to sit behind a desk. I wanted to work with my hands and made a really good living doing that,” Tom recalls.  


Apply to be a Steamfitters Apprentice 

Great news! Starting June 3, 2024, applications will be open for apprenticeships until June 22, 2024. Make sure to view important dates and requirements before applying.

The process takes a few months. After applying, an aptitude test will be given in July at the Technology Center, where those results will determine how many interviews are conducted. In August, the JATC will interview potential candidates and determine how many people they accept into both programs. Building Trades applicants will need to complete an 18-week daytime welding class without any compensation if accepted. Mechanical Service applicants will need to complete a 10-week daytime HVACR class without any compensation if accepted. Upon completion of these programs, apprentices will start working the following week at full benefits.

Tom is excited about the new apprentices. “Our training center is state-of-the-art and has more working equipment than most schools in the country. Our instructors really care about their students because they are the future, and we really want to carry on the tradition for another hundred years.”

Good luck and be sure to tag us on Facebook or Instagram if you visit the Technology Center and apply!