The International Masonry Institute recently dedicated a new flagship center on a 25-acre campus in Bowie, Md., offering skilled craft training in all
The International Masonry Institute recently dedicated a new flagship center on a 25-acre campus in Bowie, Md., offering skilled craft training in all masonry trades, plus educational programs for architects and contractors. We have made a significant commitment to invest in the future, says IMI Co-Chair John Flynn. Instead of talking about a workforce crisis, we are taking action.
Flynn is president of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC), which along with their signatory contractors, fund the International Masonry Institute (IMI). BAC is the oldest continuous union in North America, with more than 100,000 members representing all trowel trade craftworkers: brick, block, stone, marble, tile, terrazzo, plaster, concrete, and restoration. Institute officials note theirs is the only national organization training in all masonry crafts. Free to BAC members, training is offered for all levels of craftworkers, from pre-job apprentices to journeymen and instructors.
The new campus enables IMI to expand educational offerings for design and building professionals to include technical design seminars, hands-on programs and Contractor College. The center will also serve as a living classroom for field testing new products and applications, and assessing materials’ life cycle costs. This will let owners and developers get a clearer sense of their buildings’ true cost, says IMI President Joan Calambokidis.
The campus is in the process of obtaining certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, which oversees the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. It is also the new home of IMI’s Masonry Camp summer program, where young architects and apprentice craftworkers experience masonry crafts and collaboration.