Area high school students got an upclose look at what it takes to be a member of Sheet Metal Workers Local 24.
As part of National Apprenticeship Week, students from the Upper Valley Career Center visited the Dayton JATC to learn about the work Local 24 members perform, the training members receive and about the money they can earn working in this trade.
Eugene Frazier, Training Director for Local 24’s JATC, told students qualified workers who can skillfully fabricate and weld sheet metal for construction sites, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning jobs and more are in high demand.
Frazier told mydaytondailynews.com his program currently has only 54 students and with the industry demand, he could easily take 100 more – and find good jobs for all those who stick with the program.
“Right now, we’re in such an upturn cycle, it’s unreal,” Frazier said. “Huge demand.”
During the tour, students were told there are other great career options besides college. By choosing to Earn While They Learn, SMW apprentices can avoid obtaining costly college student loan debt. Frazier explained many college students graduate hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and then face an uncertain career path with a degree that may not necessarily open up the door for a good paying job.
By choosing to become an apprentice, the students can earn a livable wage, great health benefits and a retirement pension – all while receiving the training they need to become a journeyman Sheet Metal Worker.
Tony Trapp, Local 24 Apprentice Coordinator, told the Upper Valley Career Center students that he has students who are still in high school making $17,000 a year working part-time.
The need for apprentices is real and anyone interested in joining Local 24 can contact a Local 24 JATC near them for more information.