CHAMPIONS Look Forward to New Jobs in the Trades


New Pipe Trades Diversity Program Graduates 14

Recently 14 trainees graduated from CHAMPIONS, a new pipe trades diversity initiative sponsored by the Mechanical Contractors Association of Eastern Missouri (MCA-EMO), Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union 562, and the Plumbing Industry Council (PIC).  CHAMPIONS, an acronym for Creating Hometown Advantages through Minority Participation in Our Neighborhood, is an innovative program designed to expand membership diversity in the city of St. Louis while also strengthening the Local 562 workforce. 

On Sept. 18 participants celebrated the completion an initial 6-weeks of intensive classroom training and technical introduction to the trades at Local 562’s new state-of-the-art training facility in Earth City, MO.  As part of the program, the students committed to a multi-faceted course curriculum and engaged in weekly mentorship and evaluation sessions. By completing the requirements, all graduates were guaranteed a full year of employment with a CHAMPIONS Initiative contractor.  For the coming year, the participants will continue their training as pre-Apprentices in the field, while still fulfilling program requirements related to mentorship and performance evaluation.

“The CHAMPIONS pilot program was carefully designed and implemented in the best interest of the participants and our hiring contractors’ long-term success. The ongoing collaboration with our labor partners, and everyone involved, is unprecedented.”

said Kristy Stephens, MCA-MO executive director.

Contractors who signed-on to the CHAMPIONS Initiative to hire the pre-apprentices include Corrigan Company; Haberberger, Inc.; icon Mechanical; Integrated Facility Services; Murphy Company and Charles E. Jarrell Contracting Company.

Steve Faust, business development and diversity coordinator for icon Mechanical, worked with Local 562, MCA-EMO and PIC to help develop the new program.  “As we looked ahead at our industry’s work in the city of St. Louis over the next few years, we realized that we needed a continuing and larger diverse workforce,” said Faust.   “We examined other apprenticeship training programs ‘out there’ and tried to adopt best practices that would ensure that enough craftspersons would be trained and available. In addition to the soft-skills and hard-skills training, we are excited that each person has two mentors — a seasoned journeyman as well as Fred Searcy, director of minority recruitment for Local 562. “

The participants went through a rigorous competitive interview and application process. “The initial cohort demonstrated an outstanding commitment to program terms and to Local 562; and formally agreed to be fully engaged in all facets of the program,” said Carly Carmosino, program manager for MCA-EMO, who helped to design and deliver the CHAMPIONS professional development classes as enrichment to the technical training.

“We collaborated with several area not-for-profits, Mission STL and Prosperity Connection, as well as the St. Louis Community College Workforce Solutions Group and Dale Carnegie to provide essential tools and advice to our mentors and program participants,” said Carmosino. “We focused on developing the whole person, so that throughout the program, participants strengthened both their technical and soft-skills aptitude.” 

MCA-EMO offers programs crucial to the ongoing success of contractors and vendors operating within the construction industry in Eastern Missouri. For more than 120 years, the MCA has provided cost-effective educational opportunities taught by qualified and experienced professionals in the MCA Training Center. MCA-EMO also offers industry events, networking opportunities, and sponsors a student chapter at the University of Missouri-Columbia.  Visit:

Local 562 has grown to include 4,200 members who serve the plumbing and mechanical industry in 67 counties in eastern Missouri. Membership offers a wide array of plumbing and mechanical skills that are valued throughout the construction industry and they work with signatory contractors as the safest, most highly trained, productive workforce in the region. Visit:

Established in 1967, the Plumbing Industry Council addresses member issues of concern including labor relations, business practices, legislation, code and regulatory issues, industry standards, requirements and regulations affecting the plumbing industry, job site safety.  In addition, the Plumbing Industry Council promotes the use of licensed, union plumbing contractors who are engaged in all facets of plumbing, including residential and commercial service and repair,  new residential construction, light commercial and commercial construction, sewer repair/replacement sewer tracing camera, onsite/septic installation and repair, water main/site utilities.

Photo Above (L to R) Row 1: Desiree Baldwin, Carly Carmosino (MCA-EMO), Megan Seabaugh-Evergreen, Carmell Bradley, Marcus Coty; Row 2: Byron Cook, Jeremy Ruff, Mark Gainey, Joshua Temple, Andre Hickman, Malik Johnson; and  Row 3: Willie Pride, Brandon Townson, Fred Searcy. Not Shown: Nicholis Eason and Raymond Straughter

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