The Mid-America Carpenters Regional Council opens a new training center in Beijing

BEIJING (Heart of Illinois ABC) – A new project in Beijing will help train the next generation of carpenters and millwrights in central Illinois.

On Friday, the Mid America Carpenters Regional Council inaugurated a new training center.

The 15,000 square foot building is an addition to the Beijing campus of the council’s current Apprentice & Training program, where nearly 800 journeypersons and apprentices will learn their trades.

“This project will allow us to have the additional space we need to teach our apprentices and journeypersons the latest skills, the latest technology and this will allow us to have the best trained workforce in the center of Illinois,” Rob Swegle, director of the Apprentice & Training program’s Beijing campus, said.

The new building provides more space for carpenters to work on floors, lay ceilings and other skills

“It will attract apprentices from over 40 different counties, bringing them to Beijing, giving them experience of the community and its development,” Beijing Mayor Mark Luft said.

The spokesperson for the Mid America Carpenters Regional Council said that on a standard building, carpenters complete about 60% of the project, working on key building components, such as laying the foundation, concrete and more.

Roy Eash has been a carpenter in Peoria for 27 years and is a graduate of the Mid-America Carpenters Regional Council Apprentice & Training Program.

Eash said it puts Carpenters on the path to success in the field and says he’s proud to help serve the community.

“Each building is like you’re taking one last shot in a league game and getting there is the pride you feel,” Eash said.

Eash said one of his favorite projects he’s worked on is OSF’s Children’s Hospital in Peoria.

He said it was surreal to walk past it every day and see the buildings he helped build.

“Knowing that my children’s kids are going to know that I built this, the carpenters built this, it’s amazing,” Eash said.

The facility is expected to open in 2022.

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Elna M. Lemons