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Career and Education Opportunities for Steel Workers in Aurora, Illinois

Steel workers can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Aurora, Illinois area. Currently, 3,100 people work as steel workers in Illinois. This is expected to grow 5% to 3,260 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for steel workers, which sees this job pool growing by about 12.4% over the next eight years. In general, steel workers raise, place, and unite iron or steel girders, columns, and other structural members to form completed structures or structural frameworks.

Steel workers earn about $35 per hour or $74,210 per year on average in Illinois and about $20 hourly or $43,010 annually on average nationally. Steel workers earn more than people working in the category of Metal Working and Welding generally in Illinois and less than people in the Metal Working and Welding category nationally.

There are 175 schools of higher education in the Aurora area, including one within twenty-five miles of Aurora where you can get a degree to start your career as a steel worker. Steel workers usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so it will take only a short time to learn to be a steel worker if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Steel Worker

Steel Worker video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, steel workers raise, place, and unite iron or steel girders, columns, and other structural members to form completed structures or structural frameworks. They also may erect metal storage tanks and assemble prefabricated metal buildings.

Steel workers connect columns and girders with bolts, following blueprints and instructions from supervisors. They also fasten structural-steel members to hoist cables, using chains, cables, or rope. Equally important, steel workers have to bolt aligned structural-steel members in position for permanent riveting or welding into position. They are often called upon to pull or pry structural-steel members into approximate positions for bolting into position. They are expected to hoist steel beams and columns into position, using cranes, or signal hoisting equipment operators to lift and position structural-steel members. Finally, steel workers force structural-steel members into final positions, using turnbuckles, crowbars, jacks, and hand tools.

Every day, steel workers are expected to be able to lift, push and move large and heavy objects. They need to control objects and devices with precise control. It is also important that they coordinate both hands in a single activity.

It is important for steel workers to ride on girders or other structural-steel members to place them, or use rope to guide them into position. They are often called upon to dismantle structures and equipment. They also erect metal and precast concrete components for structures such as buildings and highway guard rails. They are sometimes expected to drive drift pins through rivet holes so as to align rivet holes in structural-steel members with corresponding holes in previously placed members. Somewhat less frequently, steel workers are also expected to verify vertical and horizontal arrangement of structural-steel members, using plumb bobs and/or levels.

Steel workers sometimes are asked to position blocks under reinforcing bars used to reinforce floors. They also have to be able to insert sealing strips and valves, depending on types of structures being assembled and hold rivets while riveters use air-hammers to fashion heads on rivets. And finally, they sometimes have to hoist steel beams and columns into position, using cranes, or signal hoisting equipment operators to lift and position structural-steel members.

Like many other jobs, steel workers must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Steel Worker Training

Lincoln College of Technology - Melrose Park, IL

Lincoln College of Technology, 8317 W North Avenue, Melrose Park, IL 60160-1605. Lincoln College of Technology is a small college located in Melrose Park, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 803 students and an admission rate of 100%. Lincoln College of Technology has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Construction Trades, Other Specialties which graduated 124 and twenty-one students respectively in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Aurora, Illinois

Aurora, Illinois
Aurora, Illinois photo by File Upload Bot

Aurora is situated in Kane County, Illinois. It has a population of over 171,782, which has grown by 20.1% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Aurora, 103, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Aurora are valued at $143,000 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, one hundred twenty-seven new homes were constructed in Aurora, down from three hundred thirty-eight the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Aurora are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and finance and insurance. The average travel time to work is about 29 minutes. More than 29.9% of Aurora residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.3%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Aurora is 10.9%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Aurora residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 56.0%, is more than both the national and state average. Holy Angels Roman Catholic Church, Saint Therese Roman Catholic Church and Bethany of Fox Valley United Methodist Church are all churches located in Aurora. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Aurora is home to the Watkins Hall and the Landmark Industrial Park as well as North River Street Park and O'Donnell Park. Shopping centers in the area include Yorkshire Shopping Center, Village Mart Shopping Center and Fox Valley Mall. Visitors to Aurora can choose from Comfort Suites Aurora, Galena Hotel and Comfort Inn for temporary stays in the area.