Active-duty soldiers graduate Colorado SMART Heroes program

Nine active-duty members of the U.S. Army graduated from the SMART Heroes program Friday, Sept. 15 at the Colorado location, 1420 Quail Lake Loop in Colorado Springs.

Each of the graduates completed a seven-week course at the center to earn the equivalent of their first-year sheet metal apprentice training (224 hours), paving their way for a rewarding career after their military service.

Graduates included Sgt. Raymond E. Bedow, Sgt. Kyle Cederholm, Spc. Isaac J. Gatewood, Sgt. Alfonso R. Lamas, Staff Sgt. Carlos A. Padilla, Staff Sgt. Donato Rodolfo, Sgt. Zachary I. Sarcinella, Sgt. Brennen T. Stephens and Sgt. Keandre Walker.

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.

Featured speakers during the ceremony included Nathan Cooper, executive director for the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA); Josh Moore, International Training Institute (ITI) field representative/SMART Heroes specialist; Greg Daniels, SMART Heroes instructor; and Bill Singleton, Vision Mechanical.

The curriculum for the SMART Heroes program was created by the ITI, the education arm of the unionized sheet metal, air conditioning and welding industry. The ITI, together with SMART and 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.