B.A.S.I.C. – Building Apprenticeship Skills & Investing in Communities

Fifteen years ago, it was just a daydream being tossed around District 711 In Tennessee. 

What if we could create a Machinist apprentice program to train our sons and daughters in various industries?

Or better yet, what if we could train anyone from the next generation who would rather spend time working with their hands rather than raising them in a traditional classroom setting?

What if we were able to combine the decades of skills found in today’s Machinist Members into a program focused on the working class heroes who would continue to build this country and keep her running in the future?

Then, the real question dawned on everyone.

Why can’t we do this?

And so it began that the men and women of IAM District 711 set out on a path to change lives. 

In March, 2019 the dream became a reality as an inaugural class of ten students began their path to Journeymen Machinists. 

In a partnership with Northwest-Shoals Community College (NWSCC) in Muscle Shoals, AL, the Machinists of 711 established its first, IAM apprentice program for young men and women wanting to hold the revered title of Journeyman.

Completely free of charge, the four year program combines classroom and on-the-job training, overseen by Journeymen professionals. In the end, students will be licensed Machinists qualified to work on turbines, plant equipment and in nuclear facilities and everything in between, with starting salaries between $25 and $40 and more an hour.

But the ultimate goal is to spread this program like wildfire into communities across the U.S.A.

So often the men and women who make sure this great country hum are taken for granted.  Their sacrifices as they clock in and out, each and every day, are not seen as the foundation that holds up the behemoth of a country the United States of America is today.  Without the working class, the U.S.A. would not have become the grandeur of freedom she is to people in every corner of the world.

For all those who choose to turn a wrench, build an aircraft, look after of our government, take care of our military and keep this country and its citizens moving and on the right path, we thank you for hard work and dedication that has taken care of  ourselves and our families for generations.  This apprenticeship programs honors you!

Jerry Benson

Trustee, BASIC – IAM & AW District 711 Apprenticeship Program


President and Directing Business Representative
IAM & AW District Lodge 711