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Career and Education Opportunities for Riggers in Chicago, Illinois

If you want to be a rigger, the Chicago, Illinois area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 240 working riggers in Illinois; this should shrink 7% to 220 working riggers in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for riggers are expected to grow by about 0.3%. Riggers generally set up or repair rigging for construction projects, manufacturing plants, logging yards, ships and shipyards, or for the entertainment industry.

Riggers earn approximately $28 hourly or $59,850 annually on average in Illinois. Nationally they average about $19 per hour or $41,130 annually. Earnings for riggers are better than earnings in the general category of Specialized Equipment in Illinois and better than general Specialized Equipment category earnings nationally.

There are 180 schools of higher education in the Chicago area, including one within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree to start your career as a rigger. Riggers usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so you can expect to spend only a short time training to become a rigger if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Rigger

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

In general, riggers set up or repair rigging for construction projects, manufacturing plants, logging yards, ships and shipyards, or for the entertainment industry.

Riggers decide on gear such as cables and winches, in line with load weights and sizes and work schedules. They also attach loads to rigging to furnish support or ready them for moving, using hand and power tools. Equally important, riggers have to tilt and turn suspended loads to maneuver over and/or around obstacles, using multi-point suspension techniques. They are often called upon to control movement of heavy equipment through narrow openings or confined spaces, using chainfalls and other equipment. They are expected to test rigging to insure safety and reliability. Finally, riggers manipulate rigging lines and pulling gear to move or support materials such as heavy equipment or theatrical sets.

Every day, riggers are expected to be able to visualize how things come together and can be organized. They need to evaluate problems as they arise. It is also important that they judge how far and close objects are from one another and themselves.

It is important for riggers to align and anchor machinery. They are often called upon to fabricate and repair rigging, supporting structures and pulling gear, using hand and power tools. They also clean and dress machine surfaces and component parts. Somewhat less frequently, riggers are also expected to attach loads to rigging to furnish support or ready them for moving, using hand and power tools.

They also have to be able to set up ground rigging for yarding lines, attaching chokers to logs and then to the lines And finally, they sometimes have to tilt and turn suspended loads to maneuver over and/or around obstacles, using multi-point suspension techniques.

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

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Industrial Machinery Mechanic. Repair, install, or maintain industrial production and processing machinery or refinery and pipeline distribution systems.
  • Machine Repairman. Lubricate machinery, change parts, or perform other routine machinery maintenance.
  • Mechanical Door Repairer. Install, service, or repair opening and closing mechanisms of automatic doors and hydraulic door closers. Includes garage door mechanics.
  • Medical Equipment Repairer. Test, adjust, or repair biomedical or electromedical equipment.
  • Millwright. Install, dismantle, or move machinery and heavy equipment according to layout plans, blueprints, or other drawings.
  • Vending Machine Mechanic. Install, service, or repair coin, vending, or amusement machines including video games, juke boxes, or slot machines.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Rigger Training

Joliet Junior College - Joliet, IL

Joliet Junior College, 1215 Houbolt Rd, Joliet, IL 60431-8938. Joliet Junior College is a large college located in Joliet, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,088 students. Joliet Junior College has a one to two year program in Construction/Heavy Equipment/Earthmoving Equipment Operation which graduated two students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.