Arkansas local and state workforce development officials teamed with carpenters union leaders to usher in the Grand Opening of the Russellville Carpenters & Millwrights Training Center on Wednesday, September 27.
Hosted by the Arkansas-Oklahoma Carpenters Apprenticeship & Training Trust Fund, the Grand Opening highlighted the new training facility, which is a multi-million-dollar investment in the region's workforce and business development future. The Training Center is a unique resource for local men and women to be trained as safe, skilled carpenter and millwright manpower for area contractors. The top priority is placed on creating safe, productive professionals.
Central South Carpenters Executive Secretary-Treasurer Kavin Griffin
“We pledge to this region and the construction community within it that we will be your most responsive, collaborative, and productive resource for skilled carpenters or millwrights, thanks to this new facility,” said Central South Carpenters Regional Council Executive Secretary-Treasurer Kavin Griffin during the Opening Ceremony
Special guests who attended and offered comments were Arkansas Secretary of Labor and Licensing Daryl Bassett, Russellville Mayor Fred Teague, and UBC Southern District Vice President Jason Engels.
“Whether it is inside this facility or on a nearby job site with mobile mockups in response to a contractor’s request, we are intensively training here in technical proficiency, as well as soft skills such as understanding operations worksheets and daily work schedules,” said DVP Engels. “We also invest in creating transformational leaders with elite job site communication skills.”
UBC Southern District Vice President Jason Engels
A special moment in the program featured the building being dedicated to retired UBC Southern District Vice President and Arkansas native Dennis Donahou.
Bryan Spradley, executive director of the Training Trust Fund, emceed the grand opening program, which culminated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony led by the Russellville Chamber of Commerce. Following the ceremony, attendees were treated to a BBQ buffet, an open house, and tours of the facility. About 60 members of the local Russellville group Commerce & Connections also participated in the celebration.
Special thanks to the Russellville Chamber for helping to promote and ensure the success of the event!
About the Facility
The new facility is a sprawling 35,000-square-foot structure, which is more than three times the size of the former Center. The Center offers more classrooms with state-of-the-art technology, more training space, and larger outdoor training areas. This allows carpenters and millwrights to access skill training, leadership training, and administrative support.
Apprenticeship and journeyman upgrade training focuses on safety, the latest industry certifications, as well as technologies, tools, installation methods, and the importance of having the right attitude and being productive on the job. The curriculum is provided by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC) International Training Fund, which has trained carpenters and millwrights for over 140 years. The UBC spends more than $250 million annually to deliver skill and leadership training to its half-million apprentices and journeymen, those at this new Russellville facility.
Dennis Donahou unveils his tribute
Building Dedication: Dennis Donahou
Dennis Donahou, who was born, raised, and continues to live in Arkansas, is one of the most respected leaders of the Southern USA labor industry.
A 47-year career with the UBC started in 1976 as an apprentice. He retired earlier this year as the UBC’s Southern District Vice President, where he oversaw more than 20,000 professional carpenters and millwrights in an 11-state District, ranging from the Carolinas to Texas.
Many of Mr. Donahou’s leadership accomplishments centered on training. The most notable was implementing standardized training throughout the UBC Southern District training centers, enabling any member to access the same training at any Center throughout the 11 southern states.
Mr. Donahou had the initial vision of the Russellville Training Center and worked many years to help see it through to reality.
A tribute to Mr. Donahou hangs outside the front entrance to the Training Center and reads in part: “To show our gratitude, this building is dedicated to Dennis Donahou by the men and women who benefit every day from his hard work to bring a better quality of life to UBC carpenters and millwrights throughout the South.”
Mr. Donahou lives in Combs, Arkansas with his wife, Dollie. They are the parents of two daughters, Denisa and Darcy, and their son, Derek, and have four grandchildren. The family owns and operates a cow–calf operation on two farms covering 315 acres.
Arkansas Secretary of Labor and Licensing Daryl Bassett
Russellville Mayor Fred Teague