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Steelworker adds a skill during pandemic layoff

NIck Zimmerman 2[2759].png

Nick Zimmerman migrated from Wisconsin to Northwest Indiana looking to provide for his family.

He wanted to be a Steelworker.

“My wife (Andrea) had her father and brother working at the steel mills, so she knew the lifestyle and how the job could provide for a family,” Zimmerman said.

Then the COVID-10 pandemic hit, and it hit Zimmerman hard. With only two years in at USW Local 1010 in East Chicago, Ind., the crane operator was laid off.

That’s when he took advantage of his ICD benefit.

“I had taken some wood-working classes and other stuff, but I heard how you could get a CDL through the (Career Development) program,” Zimmerman said.

The 38-year-old Steelworker has a family to provide for, including a 10-month-old son. He heard through a co-worker that he might be able to get called back quicker if he had his CDL and get into the transportation department at the mill.

Zimmerman earned his CDL in late June and had two offers from local trucking companies. The good news is he got called back to his job at the mill on July 6. The silver lining? He’s got the CDL license in his back pocket, thanks to his ICD benefit, and now has the skills in hand to hopefully land a spot in transportation at the mill eventually.

 “It’s a great program,” Zimmerman said of Career Development. “I’m glad it’s there for you, especially when you need it.

“Times are tough for a lot of people right now and this (program) gives you some hope.”

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