WHITE BEAR LAKE, Minn. – Wednesday, members of the House Labor, Industry, and Veterans Affairs Committee toured SMART Sheet Metal Workers Local 10 Metro-Area Training Center in White Bear Lake. During the tour, lawmakers received a first-hand look at the center’s apprenticeship training program and learned about the industry’s role in energy efficiency, COVID-19 mitigation, fire suppression, and technological innovations.
“Today’s tour was a good experience for legislators to get an up-close look at how Sheet Metal Workers develop their skills and how the industry is evolving, including their approach to the pandemic,” said Rep. Rob Ecklund (DFL – International Falls), the committee chair. “I’m hopeful we can continue to work together to support valuable resources like Local 10’s apprentice program, which create rewarding career opportunities for Minnesotans.”
Sheet Metal Workers fabricate, install, and service a wide range of metal products used all over the world including HVAC systems, exterior and interior architectural metal products, stainless steel kitchen equipment, signage and billboards, and products for the technology industry. Sheet Metal Workers are among the only building tradespersons to start with raw materials, custom-make complex systems, and install them possessing the ability to transform flat sheets of metal into the required size or shape.
The apprenticeship program includes 8,000 hours – approximately four years – of on-the-job training and about 180 hours of related instruction each year. Applicants are required to take a test designed to determine competence in mechanical aptitude, mathematics, and reading comprehension. Following the program, commercial Sheet Metal Workers can earn starting wages in excess of $43 per hour with a robust benefits package.