To the Editor:

In any organization, high standards ensure the ongoing success of its members and the industry at large. For the members of the Operating Engineers Local 18, that means maintaining the safest, most highly-trained and productive skilled workforce for any project.

Local 18 provides a state-of-the art training program for their members in state-of-the art facilities, including comprehensive apprenticeship programs, extensive journeyman training, a full and intensive instructor training program, as well as numerous certification programs.

We also work closely with our community leaders to leverage both public and private investments in capital construction projects to create structured career-training opportunities for historically underserved communities, such as women, minorities and veterans.

Workforce development is something we take very seriously. So when vital energy infrastructure and pipeline projects are stymied by bureaucratic approval processes and energy-adverse special interest groups, it hinders our ability to create jobs and prepare the next generation of construction workers for tomorrow.

Natural gas pipelines provide a safe, efficient way to bring a cheaper energy source to consumers, manufacturers and other industries, and can deliver ongoing benefits for years to come — especially as demand for natural gas only continues to grow. We should be looking to seize any and all opportunities to bring new investment and economic opportunities to Ohio.

Today’s pipelines employ the most advanced technology and monitoring systems to make them even safer with 24/7 safety measures and regular pipeline maintenance plans. Our members and our communities welcome these types of safe, well thought-out, private infrastructure investments, and we support these projects wholeheartedly.

Michael Bertolone

IUOE Local 18, special representative

Cleveland

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