Sheet Metal Workers Local 24 has put together a list of common questions and concerns those applying to apprenticeship may have. Contact us if you need more information or do not see your question below.
1. Is sheet metal work dangerous?
Some workers perform their tasks on ladders, roofs, or aerial lifts, meaning they cannot be scared of heights, while others may respond to emergency repair situations in extreme weather conditions creating a certain element of risk for some jobs. Many jobs in this industry however, involve no more danger than most jobs. The Sheet Metal Workers Union places great emphasis on safety, as our apprentices receive OSHA safety training and learn to safely and responsibly handle tools, materials, and themselves through both classroom instruction and on-the-job training. Safety is something our members are focused on every day.
2. How can SMW Local 24 offer paid for education and training? This seems too good to be true.
Having a steady supply of well-trained, well-educated workers is extremely valuable to the Sheet Metal industry. Therefore, our members and contractors fund the training and education process to ensure that anyone who wants to work in this industry can do so, regardless of their personal finances.
3. Are there good opportunities for women in this field?
Absolutely! Jobs in the Sheet Metal Industry, like with the other building and construction trades, have traditionally been held by men. The industry’s male domination is changing however, as an increasing number of women are deciding to enter the Sheet Metal trade. Joining Sheet Metal Workers Local 24 allows women to earn the exact same wage as their male counterparts and provides them a good income, limitless opportunities for advancement, and the pride that comes with creating something long-lasting that benefits the lives of many.
4. Am I better off with a college degree?
The type of education people get depends on what they want to do in life. Our training centers offer a number of paid for college credited courses. If they so wish, our apprentices can use those credits and their earnings to pursue a college degree. Additionally, our JATCs have articulation agreements that offer ac credit toward a college degree. Our training curricula has been evaluated for college credit by the higher learning commission A.C.E.
5. Why do I have to join the union?
Unions offer their members many benefits non-union construction workers do not receive. Our members receive better hourly wages, health benefits and retirement benefits than their nonunion counterparts. Furthermore, union members receive the industry’s best training, helping keep the workers up-to-date on the latest technology and safety practices. Through negotiations, the union gives workers an important, and powerful, say in their workplace.
6. What can a career in sheet metal lead to?
Opportunities in this field for personal and career growth and achievement truly are limitless. Sheet Metal Workers can choose to work in general construction, become certified in a specialty area, work for a company or general contractor, or start their own business. Furthermore, Sheet Metal Workers can hold union office positions, work for their trade association, teach classes, or write the standards and manuals that guide this industry.
7. Can I visit the training center in my area?
8. What if I start an apprenticeship and then decide this was a mistake?
Our application process allows Local 24 to do a lot of up-front work to help ensure this work and industry is a good fit for an apprentice candidate. Many JATCs offer pre-apprentice classes to allow potential applicants to determine if they like the industry.
9. What skills is the sheet metal industry looking for?
Our industry is interested in both men and women from all races who exhibit good attendance practices, arrive on-time or early to work and class, can pass a drug test, like to work with their hands and enjoy problem-solving. Other important characteristics include creativity, an ability to take pride in one’s work, have a solid understanding of math, work well in a team-oriented environment and enjoy taking on challenges.
10. Is it true most Sheet Metal Worker jobs involve hanging ductwork?
While ductwork installation is an important part of our trade, there are many Sheet Metal Worker jobs available which do not involve such work. Ductwork carries clean, heated or cooled air through a system and makes living and working in schools, hospitals, offices, manufacturing plants, and other buildings safe and comfortable. Many of our trades deal with ductwork on a daily basis. Tradesmen who work on signs, bridges, buildings, roofs, commercial kitchens, refrigeration units, ships, vehicles – wherever metals or plastics are shaped and fabricated for specific applications, do not always work with ducts. Other opportunities include estimators, project managers and detailers.