SMART Heroes to graduate veterans into workforce

Twelve active military, four veterans celebrate with ceremony Dec. 21

Twelve current members of the United States military and four recent veterans graduated as the eighth class of the SMART Heroes program Dec. 21 at the Western Washington Sheet Metal training center, located at 2725 Williamson Place, Suite 100, in DuPont, Washington.

These graduates, who represent the ranks of the Air Force and Army, include Staff Sgt. Robert Alley, Army; Spc. John Brandenburg, Army; Spc. David Delgado, Army; Sgt. 1st Norman Ennis, Army; Senior Airman Donovan Gardner, Air Force; Sfc. Sang Wook, Army; Spc. Logan Kinnamon, Army; Spc. Mahmood Mossa, Army; Spc. Christopher Pope, Army; Spc. Shawn Shaver, Army; Sgt. David Sigala, Army; Spc. Nicholas Spoto, Army; Sfc. Angel Stephens, Army; Spc. Douglas Stubstad, Army; Staff Sgt. David Wharton, Army; and Spc. Jesus Zapata, Army.

In order to graduate, veterans 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 150-plus 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.

Special guests included dignitaries from the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) and the International Training Institute (ITI), which together with the 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 JATC and Helmets to Hardhats. Congressman Denny Heck; James Page, administrator of the ITI; Rob Biederman, SMART Capital; Tom Montgomery, vice president of SMACNA Western Washington; and William Noland, Joint Base Lewis-McChord were in attendance.

Launched in August 2018, 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. Adjacent to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the Western Washington Sheet Metal JATC seemed the ideal host for the inaugural SMART Heroes class.

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

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