SMART Heroes program graduates 11th class of veterans

Fourteen active military, one veteran celebrated with ceremony June 17

Fourteen members of the United States military and one recent veteran graduated as the 11th class of the SMART Heroes program June 17 at the Western Washington Sheet Metal training center, at 2725 Williamson Place, Suite 100, in DuPont, Washington.

The graduates represent the ranks of the Army and Marine Corps and include Sgt. Jake Anthony, Army; Sgt. Charles Buckley, Army; Maj. Riley Coffey, Army; Cpl. John Cuevas, Army; Spc. Charles Dixon, Army; Staff Sgt. Joel Guevarra, Marine Corps; Spc. Matthew Halbin, Army; Sgt. 1st Class Benji Israel, Army; Spc. Trung Lai, Army; Brandon Lambert, Army; Spc. Jackson Njaru, Army; Spc. Justin Steen, Army; Sgt. Joshua Stevens, Army; Spc. Sean Thompson, Army; and Spc. Gustavo Tijerino.

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 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.

Dignitaries in attendance at the graduation included Dow Constantine, King County executive; William Noland, Joint Base Lewis-McChord; James Page, administrator of the International Training Institute (ITI), which together with the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (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.