Indiana celebrates repeat win at Ultimate Apprenticeship Contest

The Indiana Ultimate Apprenticeship Contest, held Sept. 14-16 in Evansville, included a few firsts. Patrick Posthauer, last year’s overall winner from Lafayette, defended his championship at this year’s event, and the safety and fire life safety categories made their debuts.

As part of the Ultimate Apprenticeship Contest, three apprentices chosen from different areas of the state, including Indianapolis, Terre Haute, Evansville, Lafayette, South Bend, Fort Wayne and Gary, compete in architectural, fire life safety, industrial, HVAC and print reading/safety categories. Although the contest is open to all apprentices, typically second- through fifth-year students compete. After all competition scores are tallied, three overall winners are crowned. In addition to the 21 apprentices in competition, the overall winner from the previous year is invited back to defend their title if they are still considered an apprentice.

This year, Posthauer, a fourth-year apprentice, returned to competition and was the first in the history of the contest to repeat with first place overall. Jeremy Fears, a fifth-year apprentice from Terre Haute, placed in second with Justin Sutliff, a third-year apprentice also from Terre Haute, in third place.

Category winners include Posthauer, architectural; Posthauer, fire life safety; Nathan Howard, a fifth-year apprentice from Evansville, industrial; Fears, HVAC; and Fears, print reading/safety.

The safety and fire life safety categories were new this year. To compete in the safety category, students studied the Sheet Metal Safety Handbook from the Sheet Metal Occupational Health Institute Trust (SMOHIT) and completed questions based on that information.

“We wanted to do some things a little different this year including fire life safety and safety,” said Ricky Coleman, training coordinator for International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation (SMART) workers Local 20. “I think the apprentices appreciate the value of inspecting dampers, and we’re trying to get them to be more safety conscious.”

Apprentices are scored based on their knowledge of curriculum created by the International Training Institute, the education arm of the unionized sheet metal industry.

The ITI 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. 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 journey workers.

More than14,000 apprentices are registered at 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).

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.

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