Apprenticeship programs open doors for National Apprenticeship Week

National Apprenticeship Week, which takes place annually in November, has a year-long impact at Sheet Metal Workers Local 24 in Dayton, Ohio. Throughout the year, training coordinator Eugene Frazier maintains contact, forming relationships and gaining apprentices long after the week’s activities have faded.

More than 160 students from seven schools visited the training center during National Apprenticeship Week morning and afternoon sessions. Two schools couldn’t make it, so Local 24 took the event to them.

“It pays off,” Frazier said. “They know who we are. It makes that personal relationship, that bond between the students and instructors, strong.”

Many of the students were from technical schools in the area, so welding skills were apparent. What the welding students didn’t know is how they could use their skills as a member of SMART, the International Association of Sheet Metal Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (formerly the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association).

“Bringing them into a training center, it changes their opinions,” Frazier said. “It gives the students a chance to see what they can do with their skills.”

Frazier – along with the help of retired member Mike E. Tipton and business agents Rick Perdue and Michael W. Tipton – put students into the welding booth and helped them build tool trays in addition to providing a facility tour and a presentation about the union and the benefits of being a member. Breakfast and lunch for the students was provided by the Sheet Metal and Roofing Contractors’ Association of the Miami Valley, Ohio.

In addition to the School-to-Apprenticeship Program, which targets and trains high school seniors and jumpstarts their apprenticeship training, National Apprenticeship Week activities provide the opportunity to keep the idea of entering an apprenticeship fresh in the minds of students who are already interested in the trade.

“I’ve had students come back after graduation to fill out an application,” Frazier said.

Other locals that participated in National Apprenticeship Week activities, include:

Sheet Metal Workers Local 88
Local 88 participated in two events, including an open house at the Las Vegas training center and an event at College of Southern Nevada, to share information with local community partners, school counselors and other attendees who can benefit from learning about apprenticeship programs. During the open house, educators led facility tours and provided information to visiting high school seniors, families and high school counselors.

Sheet Metal Workers Local 124
Local 124 participated in an open house, which included other state construction building trades, aimed to educate students, counselors, city and state inspectors, the workforce board, local instructors and superintendents and vocational school instructors about another form of higher education, apprenticeship. Professionals from each building trade offered information about their career fields in promotion of apprenticeships.

Sheet Metal Workers Local 46
Local 46 in Rochester, New York, participated in multiple events throughout National Apprenticeship Week.

On Monday, Nov. 12, the week was kicked off with a press conference with construction apprenticeships, elected officials, Helmets to Hardhats and the New York State Department of Labor. During the event, Local 46 received a proclamation from City of Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren.

The next day, Local 46 hosted an open house where fellow building trades unions were welcomed and provided facility tours to attendees. On Friday, Nov. 16, Local 46 participated in Educator’s Day, where more than 30 teachers and guidance counselors from 20 area high school and vocational programs attended to learn about the trades, apprentice expectations and how students can reap the rewards of union apprenticeship.

Sheet Metal Workers Local 80
The Local 80 training center participated in a Management and Unions Serving Together (MUST) roadshow, which was attended by 100 high school administrators from Oakland and Macomb counties on Nov. 13. MUST is a Southeast Michigan nonprofit organization that works to improve the safety, quality and value on construction sites while completing jobs on time and on budget with the highest skilled and trained workforce.

Local 80 in Detroit was one stop on a tour of local building trades’ training centers. After a presentation and a question-and-answer session, the administrators built pencil boxes to take back to their offices. To date, O’Rourke has already received follow-up calls relating to the event.

“The best thing about the event is that it lets us reach out to a large number of high schools in one day,” said Matt O’Rourke, Local 80 training director. “It is probably the best outreach event we put on all year.”

More than 14,000 apprentices are registered at over 150 training facilities across the United States and Canada. The ITI is jointly sponsored by SMART and the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA).

The International Training Institute (ITI), the education arm of the unionized sheet metal and air conditioning industry, supports apprenticeship and advanced career training for union workers in the sheet metal heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), welding and industrial, architectural and ornamental, and service and testing, adjusting and balancing industry throughout the United States and Canada. Headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, the ITI develops and produces a standardized sheet metal curriculum supported by a wide variety of training materials free of charge to sheet metal apprentices and journeymen.

For more information about ITI and its available training curriculum for members covering sheet metal trade work, visit the website or call 703-739-7200.