EAS Carpenters Expand Training, Open First Union Dive School in Country

June 15, 2022

For the United Brotherhood of Carpenters keeping up with an ever-growing industry requires continuous investment of educational resources. The Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters for example operate 17 state-of-the-art training facilities across six states. That though is not enough, especially with the monumental investment coming from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, and creation of a brand new offshore wind industry coming to the East Coast. 


On Wednesday, May 11, 2022, the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters hosted an Open House for their expanded Heavy Construction, Pile Driving & Offshore Wind Training Facility in Hammonton, NJ, and their now 18th training facility, for their new EAS Carpenters Dive School in Sicklerville, NJ. This is the first union dive school in the country and is a major leap forward in the workforce development necessary for the new offshore wind industry, and in preparing for building and maintenance of American roads and bridges.


“This is a very exciting day, it’s almost a dream come true for me,” stated EASRCC Executive Secretary-Treasurer William Sproule, “I trained at the Hammonton Training Center as an apprentice and to help transform this location into a premier training center for the heavy construction and offshore wind industry is a milestone for our union.”


These training facilities will provide carpenters from across the country with the foundational skills needed to aid in the expansion of the wind energy industry and infrastructure work, including concrete formwork, pile driving, rigging, and more.



“We’re constantly looking at new ways we can maintain the standard of training we expect for our members, whether that be through new facilities or updated programs. We’re committed to doing what is necessary to prepare for what’s to come with this industry,” explained Phil Diaz, Training Director for the Hammonton Training Center.


Pile Driving Training at the Hammonton Training Center



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The offshore wind industry has been steadily growing in America, starting with onshore work, followed by the manufacturing of parts within the country. 


“The vision for (the expanded training facility and Dive School) came about 5 years ago having breakfast right up the street at the Silver Point Diner talking about a vision on how we can better job training pile drivers and what we were going to do to be on the cutting edge for wind energy,” explained Frank Spencer, General Vice President of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBCJA)., “And damn am I proud.” 


The former dive school location was on the EAS Carpenters’s radar for quite some time as it met all of the criteria required for a possible training center. 


“This training center gives us the capability to have the best trained workforce in the market,” Tim Waring, Training Coordinator at the Hammonton Training Center said, ”It gives our contractors the competitive edge to get any job and win more work.”


Union contractors can now be prepared with a workforce specialized in commercial diving and are that more ready to compete against non-union contractors. 


”We went from nobody knowing that we have divers to having the premier destination of diving in the United States.” said Donald Dryden of Dryden Diving Company Inc., “Nobody knows more about training than the UBC.” 


Eastern District Vice President, William Waterkotte, stated, “We’re hoping for this to be the model for the entire UBCJA.”


Although this goal seemed lofty initially, the time is now to start training workers for the Offshore Wind industry. The facilities are in place for Brothers and Sisters across the country to be trained and prepared for what’s to come while out at sea. 


“We didn’t have this when I first started, it was a lot of in the classroom and power points,” stated Angela Woodman, Local 474 Pile Driver, “Now we’re going to have actual hands-on experience with testing, welding and driving pile… hands-on is the best way to learn.”


“South Jersey is going to be a home that people are going to know that is the leader in the offshore and emerging technologies and infrastructure,” said Robert Smith, Supervisor of Instruction.