A monumental achievement unfolded on a Saturday night as 444 skilled and dedicated apprentices from the Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters celebrated the culmination of four years of unwavering commitment and hard work.

A Promising Future

Each year, the Regional Council celebrates the achievements of the union’s newest journey-level carpenters. “The apprenticeship is not an easy path. It requires dedication, sacrifice, and a thirst for knowledge,” the Director of Education for the Indiana/Kentucky Joint Apprenticeship Training Fund, Adam Fedak, told the crowd. “As our apprentices graduate tonight, they step into a world of endless opportunities.”

Mike Kwiatkowski, IKORCC Executive Secretary-Treasurer, applauded the graduates and emphasized that there has never been a better time to be a union carpenter.

“Today is a celebration,” he told the room of graduates and their families.

“Today we honor brothers and sisters who have come before, but more importantly, today we honor each of you. The ones with the responsibility to better their lives and our trade. Among this group are future foremen, superintendents, safety directors, instructors, representatives, and maybe even the next EST. You are now a journeyman. Give your best every day, and this organization will give you as much as you give to it.”

Helmets to Hardhats: Honoring Veterans

Eleven of the graduates represented the esteemed Helmets to Hardhats program, which helps veterans find their next mission in a union apprenticeship after their military service. These brave men and women who have honorably served our country in the US Marines, US Army, US National Guard, and US Army Reserves have now transitioned into rewarding careers in carpentry. Their dedication to both our nation and the construction industry is truly commendable.

Jerry N. Burke Award

A tradition starting in 2022, the Jerry Burke Award is presented to an individual at IKORCC that has displayed an excellence in training. Named after the honorable Jerry Burke, the award honors the legacy of the former Director of Education for the Indiana Kentucky Joint Apprenticeship Training Fund. In the its inaugural year, the award went to honor Hope Harp, the Outreach Coordinator for the Indiana Kentucky Training Fund. This year, the award honored instructor Bill Pinkard. Bill has been an extremely valuable instructor and the IKORCC has been truly honored to have him teaching the future generations.

The graduation of 444 apprentices from the Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters apprenticeship program marks a monumental achievement and a bright future for these skilled tradespeople. The union carpenters and millwrights, with their unwavering determination, are set to shape the future of the industry for the better. We salute these new journeymen and journeywomen and look forward to the incredible contributions they will make in the years to come. Congratulations to the 2023 Indiana and Kentucky graduates!

To view the full index of photos including graduates on stage, please visit this link.