More than just
a trade school


Who We Are

Trade Institute of Pittsburgh (TIP) is a non-profit building trade training provider dedicated to providing opportunities for individuals with barriers to employment. TIP engages returning citizens to meet a growing need for skilled workers across the trades as the older generation of workers retires. These trades include masonry, carpentry, painting, welding, and a variety of other skilled trade fields.  

What We Do

Core Masonry

The Masonry Program consists of hands-on, competency-based masonry fundamentals, delivered by a qualified industry professional. Each participant receives 340 hours of training through a series of stations in which he or she learns how to lay brick to the line, level and plumb a wall, point brick, build block and brick leads, layout a project, perform control joints and ties, build Z-walls and T-walls, build piers and chimneys. Each step is increasingly more difficult with a steady pressure designed to increase the student’s skill level and develop confidence as he or she masters each station.  

Additional Supports

TIP meets students where they are and is committed to serving the whole person. In addition to trade training, TIP staff offer supportive services to help individuals access and develop their talents. TIP’s Life Coach facilitates the power life class, otherwise known as the Circle, at the start of each training day. There, participants have the opportunity to share what they are thankful for in a group setting. Program staff reinforce life lessons that directly relate to participants’ experiences and convey how these experiences correlate to training and the realities of being in the workforce. In addition to Circle, TIP’s Life Coach implements a personalized counseling approach, working with each student for one hour per week. In these sessions, students set individual goals related to relationships, finances, health, etc. and are given an action plan to achieve those goals.

Job Placement

Over the ten-week program, our Job Developer works closely with instructors to understand each individual student’s strengths and talents. The Job Developer is also in close communication with our employer partners to understand their needs and to ensure the perfect match. After placement, the Job Developer continues to support both the graduate and the employer to ensure that the placement is a success.


For those students who have the interest and aptitude, TIP offers a 12-week, paid apprenticeship in Welding or Construction. These are great opportunities for our Masonry graduates to get a specialized skill set in an on-the-job model.   


Social Enterprises

Using specialized firebrick and reused brick, TIP launched TIP Ovens, its first masonry product into the market in 2018. Each oven is built by the apprentices in training. The bases are built by apprentices in the Welding Program.     

To find out how you can purchase an oven for residential or commercial purposes, please contact us!


TIP’s model is working. Over 90% of our graduates are being hired by an increasing host of contractors and construction companies at a starting wage of $15+/hour. The program is realizing better than a 9% one-year recidivism rate, compared to the state rate of 42.6%.  

Interested in enrolling in TIP? Interested in hiring a TIP graduate? Interested in getting involved? Please contact us!