Colorado SMART Heroes program graduates active-duty military, veterans

Colorado SMART Heroes program graduates standing by SMW logoIn its third year operating in Colorado, SMART Heroes graduated one veteran and eight active-duty members of the United States Army from its program Friday, Aug. 5, at the training center of Sheet Metal Workers Local 9, 1420 Quail Lake Loop in Colorado Springs. In order to graduate, service members completed a seven-week course at the center to earn the equivalent of their first-year sheet metal apprentice training (224 hours).

Graduates included Marine Corps veteran David Burgess, who joined Sgt. Keith A. Bradley, Sgt. Luis A. Herrera-Rosario, Sgt. Michael J. Lewis, Spc. Tyler J. Miller, Spc. Jacob Nash, Spc. Spencer J. Rivera, Sgt. Seth J. Thornton and Spc. Cooper Wagner, all representing the ranks of the Army.

Upon discharge from service, these graduates may choose to enter any of the 148 International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation (SMART) workers 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.

Man standing at a podium addressing a group of graduates

Featured speakers during the ceremony included Jon Alvino, Sheet Metal Workers Local 9 business manager; Greg Daniels, SMART Heroes instructor; and Darrell Roberts, SMART director of organizing.

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 SMART and the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA), created the program in collaboration with SMART Local 9 Colorado and its training center, SMACNA Colorado and Helmets to Hardhats.

Launched in August 2017 in Washington, SMART Heroes provides sheet metal industry training through an accelerated seven-week program for active-duty U.S. military men and women and recent veterans who plan to enter civilian life within the year, assisting with their successful transition to the civilian workforce and a satisfying lifelong career in the sheet metal industry. The second location in Colorado Springs began offering the same training in August 2019.