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Career and Education Opportunities for Steel Workers in Elgin, Illinois

There are many career and education opportunities for steel workers in the Elgin, Illinois area. About 3,100 people are currently employed as steel workers in Illinois. By 2016, this is expected to grow 5% to about 3,260 people employed. 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.

Income for steel workers is about $35 per hour or $74,210 yearly on average in Illinois. Nationally, their income is about $20 hourly or $43,010 yearly. Earnings for steel workers are better than earnings in the general category of Metal Working and Welding in Illinois and not quite as good as general Metal Working and Welding category earnings nationally.

There are sixty-one schools of higher education in the Elgin area, including one within twenty-five miles of Elgin where you can get a degree to start your career as a steel worker. The most common level of education for steel workers is a high school diploma or GED. You can expect to spend only a short time studying to be a steel worker if you already have a high school diploma.


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.


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.


Elgin, Illinois
Elgin, Illinois photo by James Jordan

Elgin is located in Kane County, Illinois. It has a population of over 106,330, which has grown by 12.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Elgin, 104, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Elgin cost $156,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred thirty-two new homes were constructed in Elgin, down from seven hundred fifty-six the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Elgin are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, metal and metal products, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average travel time to work is about 26 minutes. More than 20.5% of Elgin residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.0%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Elgin is 12.4%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Elgin residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 56.0%, is more than both the national and state average. Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Seventh Day Adventist Church and Saint Thomas More Roman Catholic Church are some of the churches located in Elgin. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Elgin is home to the Fox Bluff Corporate Center and the Elgin Fire Station Number 2 as well as Wing Park and College Park. Shopping malls in the area include Wing Park Manor Shopping Center, Tyler Creek Plaza Shopping Center and Town and Country Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Elgin can choose from Elgin-Days Inn, Colonial Lodge Motel and Crowne Plaza for temporary stays in the area.