by IUPAT 82

Building a Career, Looking to the Future

When Joey Sosa first heard his cousin talk about career training as a glazier, he had no idea he would like it so much. Then he started the apprentice program at the Finishing Trades Institute of the Upper Midwest in 2015, and now he’s looking forward to completing his apprenticeship in May 2018. Along the way, he has learned the skills that prepared him for success on the job.

“It’s really fun and it’s exciting to see a finished project,” says Sosa. “It’s great to see your work.” He was drawn to union membership by the prospect of better pay and benefits after serving six years in the Navy Reserve and trying other jobs that didn’t offer the advantages of organized labor.

“I’m a hands-on guy, so this apprenticeship has given me the opportunity to apply what I’ve learned at the training center and put my skills to work on the job,” says Sosa, who has worked for the W.L. Hall Company during his apprenticeship and has appreciated the journeymen who shared their knowledge with him. “The longer I’ve worked as a glazier, the more I’ve learned about asking questions.”

Sosa says he has been impressed with the way different trades come together to create successful projects. It’s one more reason he’s convinced he made a good choice by launching a career in the finishing trades. During his apprenticeship, he has worked on projects including Hyatt Hotels in Bloomington and Minneapolis, 3M in St. Paul, and most recently, an elementary school in Willmar, Minnesota.

“There’s more potential for moving up when you’re working in a trade,” says Sosa, who is eager to build on what he has learned so far. Now he has started working toward his associate degree at the FTIUM with classes that began at the end of August.

“I want to build my leadership skills and make myself more marketable,” says Sosa, who lives in Bloomington, Minnesota. For him, job training and hard work are helping build a better future with the IUPAT.