SMART Heroes Program Readies Soon-to-Be Vets for Construction Careers

The program consists of a seven-week course, which allows trainees to receive 224 hours’ worth of training—the equivalent of first-year sheet metal apprentice training.

📅   Wed October 04, 2017 - National Edition
Emily Buenzle


The program consists of a seven-week course, which allows trainees to receive 224 hours' worth of training—the equivalent of first-year sheet metal apprentice training.
The program consists of a seven-week course, which allows trainees to receive 224 hours' worth of training—the equivalent of first-year sheet metal apprentice training.

The very first class from the SMART Heroes Program graduated Oct. 3 at the Western Washington Sheet Metal JATC DuPont Training Center. The class was made up of eight U.S. Army members who will soon become veterans, the Suburban Times reported.

The SMART Heroes Program was started by the International Association of Sheet Metal Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) and Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors' National Association (SMACNA) with local help from SMART Local 66, SMACNA Western Washington, Western Washington Sheet Metal JATC and Helmets to Hardhats. The program's goal is to give free sheet metal training to men and women enlisted in the military who are scheduled to enter civilian life in the next year in an effort to help them transition into the workforce, the Suburban Times reported.

The program consists of a seven-week course, which allows trainees to receive 224 hours' worth of training—the equivalent of first-year sheet metal apprentice training. Once trainees have graduated from the program, they have the option of entering any of more than 150 SMART apprenticeship programs throughout the country, where they will be given direct entry and advanced placement as second-year sheet metal apprentices, the Suburban Times reported.

“Military veterans have the ideal qualities we look for in candidates for our apprenticeship programs — work ethic, maturity and discipline, to name a few,” said James Page, an administrator for the International Training Institute (ITI) for the unionized sheet metal, air conditioning and welding industry. “Their skills acquired during their time of service can easily be applied on the work site, and it is our honor to assist these U.S. heroes as they transition to civilian life.”

The ITI worked to create a training program geared toward soon-to-be veterans entering civilian life, paying special attention to high-demand areas of the industry, including industrial and welding, architecture, testing, adjusting and balancing and detailing. In addition, McChord Field Education & Training Center stepped in to help find and screen possible trainees.

The SMART Heroes Program works closely with Helmets to Hardhats to help train veterans in a variety of construction jobs. Veterans who are interested in joining the SMART Heroes Program are encouraged to first join Helmets to Hardhats to ensure they find the perfect career fit within the construction industry.