What is ICD?


The Institute for Career Development, headquartered in Merrillville, Indiana, is a unique workforce training program for eligible members of the United Steelworkers. The Institute, or ICD, was created in 1989 as a result of contract negotiations between the USW and major steel companies. Today, ICD has expanded to include tire & rubber, glass and packaging companies as well.

ICD is a joint initiative, with labor and management working together to provide educational services to Steelworkers. Today, there are more than 70 Career Development Programs nationwide in the steel, tire and rubber, and glass industries.



What kind of training does the Institute offer?


We have a wide range of classes to meet any interest or skill level.  Instruction ranges from basic skills, such as GED preparation or financial investing, to graduate-level college courses. Steelworkers can also take a variety of classes that teach technical skills, such as plumbing, electrical wiring or small engine repair, and a wide array of computer classes are available as well.

The emphasis is on teaching “portable” skills Steelworkers can use to enhance their existing careers or take with them beyond the steel mills, rubber plants and iron mines should they change jobs. Many Steelworkers use the program to prepare for pre-apprenticeship tests.

Approximately 80 percent of the courses are “customized,” meaning that instructors are hired to design classes specifically for Steelworkers. Most of these classes are taught in learning centers at or near the plants and are offered twice a day – before and after shift changes – to accommodate workers’ schedules. Steelworkers have access to other courses available through a tuition assistance program which provides up to $1,800 annually for tuition, books and fees at accredited institutions.


How is the program funded?


This educational benefit is negotiated by the USW in contracts with participating companies.  The companies set aside 15 cents for each hour worked by a Steelworker – or some other contractually agreed-upon amount – to fund the program.

Each site has a Local Joint Committee that oversees spending.  The LJC is comprised of both union and company representatives. Depending on the size of the workforce at each plant, budgets range from $10,000 to more than $1 million annually.


What makes the program unique?


Everything is geared toward making learning comfortable and accessible for Steelworkers. Our learning centers are conveniently located, usually on or near work sites or in a union hall. Classes are offered before and after shift changes to accommodate workers’ schedules.

Each site offers classes under the direction of the LJC. The LJC decides what courses to offer by documenting workers’ needs and interests. They do this through surveys or by sending program Learning Advocates to talk to workers on the shop floor. Each Career Development Program is uniquely tailored for the Steelworkers at that location. It’s a “bottom-up” philosophy that enables Steelworkers to drive the program.

Another important aspect of the program is learning confidentiality. Only the Steelworker and the Career Development staff know whether the Steelworker is there to brush up on basic skills or complete a college-level course. Computer-aided instruction supplements traditional classroom settings, small group sessions and one-on-one tutoring.


How can I get more information about the Institute?


Feel free to contact our national office at (219) 738-9029. You can also visit our Facebook page or The Long ... And Short of It.

Our staff can be a valuable resource for anyone who needs information on adult education, workforce training, the future of joint labor/management training programs and the importance of education in the labor movement.


Member Companies


AK Steel Corporation

Allegheny Ludlum



ATI Albany Operations Wah Chang

ATI Wah Chang Wah Chang


Bridgestone Americas Americas

Corning Incorporated

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

Republic Steel

Tetra Pak

United States Steel Corporation


Veyance Technologies


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