ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The International Apprenticeship Competition, a battle between some of the most-highly skilled craftsmen in their trade, was held recently. For six days in August, 1,377 of North America’s plumbers, welders, pipefitters, and service technicians convened at Washtenaw Community College to showcase their talents and hone their skills during the Instructor Training Program (ITP). The United Association of Journeyman and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada (UA) has been organizing this annual event since 1954.

The apprenticeship competition included 30 contestants from the six regions (five from the United States and one from Canada) who were chosen to compete for national bragging rights and industry recognition. The apprentices specialize in five different disciplines: HVAC, pipe fitting, plumbing, sprinkler fitting, and welding, and are tested on their ability to successfully apply multiple joining techniques to a complex copper assembly.

As in years past, the Copper Development Association (CDA) sponsored the copper segment of the competition. Competitors were tasked with completing a timed project that tested their knowledge of copper joining applications. CDA staff not only designed and judged the competition, but they also provided the copper materials and equipment that were used.

“We look forward to this event every year,” said Andy Kireta Jr., CDA vice president of building and construction. “The level of skill and talent that these apprentices display continues to impress us. We are always excited to participate and watch the best of the best go at it in this skilled competition.”

In addition to a commemorative trophy, the winners of the copper portion of the contest received $1,000. The winners are: Dominic Villa, Dave DeRaadt, Moses Yohalem, Kyle Kulovitz, and Ryan Gibson.

Eighty-three courses were offered by the UA during the five-day program. The week ended with the ITP graduation ceremony and the announcement of the competition winners.

To watch the U.A. Apprentice Competition video, visit

Publication date: 09/26/2011