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Career and Education Opportunities for Steel Workers in Portland, Maine

There are many career and education opportunities for steel workers in the Portland, Maine area. The national trend for steel workers sees this job pool growing by about 12.4% over the next eight years. Steel workers generally raise, place, and unite iron or steel girders, columns, and other structural members to form completed structures or structural frameworks.

A person working as a steel worker can expect to earn about $18 per hour or $38,400 annually on average in Maine and about $20 per hour or $43,010 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Incomes for steel workers are better than in the overall category of Metal Working and Welding in Maine, and not quite as good as the overall Metal Working and Welding category nationally.

There are twenty-three schools of higher education in the Portland area, including two within twenty-five miles of Portland where you can get a degree to start your career as a steel worker. Given that the most common education level 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.

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

York County Community College - Wells, ME

York County Community College, 112 College Drive, Wells, ME 04090. York County Community College is a small college located in Wells, Maine. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 1,074 students. York County Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Construction Trades, Other Specialties which graduated zero and five students respectively in 2008.

Central Maine Community College - Auburn, ME

Central Maine Community College, 1250 Turner Street, Auburn, ME 04210-6498. Central Maine Community College is a small college located in Auburn, Maine. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,426 students. Central Maine Community College has an associate's degree program in Construction Trades, Other Specialties which graduated two students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine
Portland, Maine photo by Pauk

Portland is situated in Cumberland County, Maine. It has a population of over 62,561, which has shrunk by 2.6% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Portland, 102, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Portland are priced at $164,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, twenty-three new homes were built in Portland, down from thirty-two the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Portland are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, accommodation and food services, and construction. The average commute to work is about 19 minutes. More than 36.4% of Portland residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 13.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Portland is 6.3%, which is less than Maine's average of 7.6%. About 14.1% of Portland's residents are below the poverty line, which is worse than the state average.

The percentage of Portland residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 40.4%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Mariners Church, Swedenborgian Church and Stroudwater Christian Church are among the churches located in Portland. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church.

Portland is home to the Cumberland Wharf and the Browns Wharf as well as Longfellow Square and Hadlock Field. Shopping centers in the area include Mill Creek Shopping Center, Monument Square Shopping Center and Portland East Shopping Center. Visitors to Portland can choose from Motel 6, Fairfield Inn Portland Airport and Ramada Limited Portland for temporary stays in the area.