Military ranks, vets graduate from SMART Heroes program

Fifteenth class graduates members of Army, Air Force, Marines

Eleven members of the United States military and five veterans graduated as the 15th class of the SMART Heroes program Feb. 24 at the Western Washington Sheet Metal training center, at 2725 Williamson Place, Suite 100, in DuPont, Washington.

Graduates include Spc. Stephen Algien, Army; Sgt. Dale Ball, Air Force; Spc. Joseph Clark, Army; Sfc. Terry Faust, Army; Sgt. Joshua James, Army; Staff Sgt. Sean Kiniston, Army; Spc. Thomas Lee, Army; Sgt. Austin Miller, Army; Cpl. Colton Murphy, Marine Corps; Spc. Sergio Ramirez, Army; and Spc. Elizabeth Whetham, Army.

In order to graduate, participants completed a seven-week course to earn the equivalent of their first-year sheet metal apprentice training (224 hours). Upon discharge from service, these graduates may choose to enter any of the 148 Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) apprenticeship programs in the United States and be provided direct entry and advanced placement as a second-year sheet metal apprentice, including a high probability of obtaining second-year apprentice wages and benefits.

Dignitaries in attendance at the graduation included William Noland, from Joint Base Lewis McChord; Charles Mulcahy, SMART director of craft services; Hilary Franz, Washington commissioner of public lands.

The curriculum for the SMART Heroes program was created by the International Training Institute (ITI), the education arm of the unionized sheet metal, air conditioning and welding industry. The ITI, together with the International Association of SMART and Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA), created the program in collaboration with SMART Local 66, SMACNA Western Washington, Western Washington Sheet Metal training center and Helmets to Hardhats.

Launched in August 2017, the SMART Heroes program was established to provide free sheet metal industry training to enlisted U.S. Military men and women who plan to enter the civilian life within the year, thereby assisting in a successful transition into the civilian workforce.

For additional information on SMART Heroes, visit or call the International Training Institute at 703-739-7200.