Adam Busdiecker likes to keep his options open.
In his fourth year as an apprentice with the Local 50 Plumbers, Steamfitters, and Service Mechanics Union, Busdiecker may someday enroll at Owens Community College to earn a degree in business management – a move, he figures, that may help him if he decides to open his own business.
In the meantime, he’s developing the skills – welding, plumbing, and pipefitting – that he’s learning at the Piping Industry Training Center (PITC), operated by Owens and the union, and earning a good wage while working.
PITC apprentices can also receive college credit.
“It’s a great program,” he said. “You put to use in the field what you learn in class. It’s a brand new school, one of the best in the nation.”
The 23-year-old graduate of Whitmer High School initially enrolled at Owens with the intent of completing the fire science program but changed his mind after a year.
“I just didn’t feel it was for me,” he said. “I started thinking about my long term goals and firefighting just didn’t seem right for me in my mind. I like to work with my hands a lot in construction. At Whitmer, I was in the carpentry program.
“I wanted to start working. Now I work 40 hours a week and go to school at the training center.”
His grandfather and late father also worked in the building trades.
Busdiecker has already worked at some major construction projects in the area, including the new Lucas County Arena, Savage Hall, and the Penta Career Center as well as smaller jobs. He also expects to be working at the Stroh Center at Bowling Green State University and at Hill View School in Sylvania.
As a fourth-year apprentice, his take home pay is $25.10 an hour. His gross pay is about $56 an hour before contributions to his pension, health insurance, and other benefits.
Busdiecker plans to complete his apprenticeship in the spring of 2011. He recently purchased a home in Point Place and intends to stay in Northwest Ohio but is fully aware becoming a journeyman gives him options if he should have to relocate.
“I’ll have my journeyman’s card and can go anywhere in the United States and it will be accepted,” he said. “
Last year, an Owens student at the training center was named the United Association International Apprentice Contest winner among more than 40,000 apprentices in the U.S. and Canada.
Martin Stevens, Toledo, was named the welder international champion, marking the second year in a row that an Owens and Piping Industry Training Center Local 50 student was crowned a national champion. The competition was held in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Two students won the contest in the HVAC and pipefitter categories a year earlier.
A panel of judges representing factories, grade each contestant in workmanship, safety practices, problem-solving techniques, and the successful passing of X-ray testing of the projects to determine the winners.