Colorado Springs SMART Heroes graduates 9 soldiers

Colorado Springs SMART Heroes graduates standing in front of SMW Logo

US military members finish first leg of training for sheet metal careers

Nine members of the U.S. Army were celebrated for graduating from the SMART Heroes program’s Colorado location Friday, June 10 at Sheet Metal Workers Local 9, 1420 Quail Lake Loop in Colorado Springs.

The graduates included Sgt. Kane A. Allen, Spc. Dax E. Van Horn, Spc. Cameron Horsman, Master Sgt. Mathew Hunter, Spc. Joshua A. Johns, Spc. Kong M. Moua, Pfc. Giann E. Salicrup, Sgt. Adam J. Sohm and Spc. Cesar O. Suarez.

Speakers featured at the event were Joseph Sellers Jr., general president of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation (SMART) workers; Darrell Roberts, SMART’s director of organizing; John Alvino, business manager of Local 9; and Greg Daniels, SMART Heroes instructor.

Man standing at a podium addressing a group of graduates

Graduating participants have 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 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.

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, 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, 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. The second location in Colorado Springs began offering the same training in August 2019.

Additional information on the SMART Heroes program can be found at or by calling the International Training Institute at 703-739-7200.