Philadelphia, PA (June 23, 2011)–The International Association of Theatrical and Stage Employees Local 8 (IATSE) recently opened a new $6 million Education and Training Center in South Philadelphia.
IATSE Local 8’s new facility offers training to union stagehand workers for legitimate stage productions, orchestral ensembles, opera and ballet performances, rock and roll concerts, audio-visual Convention Center training, film and television training, and even wardrobe, hair, and make-up training. The curriculum also includes all safety courses needed in this industry. Given Local 8’s background in the audio-visual and broadcast industries, the union intends to offer its training programs via the internet to all IATSE locals throughout Pennsylvania and will develop strategic partnerships with the Commonwealth’s educational institutions to give graduating students access to the union in an effort to develop the most advanced entertainment training program in the country. The new training facility sits on a 45,000-square foot lot and includes one of the largest “green roofs” in Philadelphia.
The facility, which replaces IATSE Local 8’s undersized and outdated Hartranft Street offices in Center City, took just six months to construct. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania contributed $2.5 million in funding for the project. Among those dignitaries who attended the gala grand opening this spring were Philadelphia City Controller Alan Butkovitz, Pennsylvania State Representatives Bill Keller and John Taylor, IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb, IATSE International General Secretary-Treasurer Jamie Wood, and others.
“Today, we began the process of establishing IATSE Local 8 and the City of Philadelphia as the focal point of the entertainment industry in Pennsylvania and perhaps in the entire northeastern region,” said IATSE Second Vice President Michael Barnes, the driving force behind the construction of the new Education and Training Center. “This 11,000-square foot facility will be unrivaled in the breadth of its educational and training offerings for IATSE members and prospective new members. With Philadelphia and the region increasingly becoming a hot destination for the production of movies, TV shows and many other entertainment mediums, our new facility is a timely and important new resource for the industry.”