Sheet metal may be the dream career many of your students been searching for. Take it from the professionals of the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA) and the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART), work in the sheet metal industry is so much more than ‘just a job.’
From the residential heating and air conditioning systems that make temperatures comfortable; safe ventilation systems in healthcare, commercial, and industrial facilities that increase the health and emotional wellbeing of inhabitants; to architectural metal projects that combine old-world craftsmanship with cutting edge technology, the finished products produced by career sheet metal workers make a difference in the daily lives of all Americans.
Careers in the sheet metal industry provide opportunities both to those who like working behind a computer with the latest technologies and those who want to stay out from behind a desk, projects in the field or the shop. Individuals in the industry will be able to stay out of debt, receive advanced education and training, successfully fulfill their career goals, and support themselves and their families into the future. (Watch videos and read more about individuals’ journeys in the industry.) [Ed note: What should we use? Should we provide a page with links to My Journey videos and articles?]
Here are the top five reasons you can confidently recommend to your students a life-long career in sheet metal:
1. DIVERSE CAREER PATHS – The sheet metal industry provides unique opportunities for individuals to steer their own paths and build rewarding careers. Whether someone is interested managing people and projects; working with the latest technologies–from lasers to CAD to building information modeling; or designing, fabricating, or installing specialized products for the architectural, industrial, commercial or residential markets, there is something for everyone. See more.
2. BUILDING SKILLS WITHOUT DEBT – It’s not necessary to direct your students into a traditional four-year university degree and piles of debt to allow them to earn a great living. In the sheet metal industry, it is possible to opt for apprenticeship programs that allow them to earn while they learn, without paying tuition–otherwise known as a FULL RIDE SCHOLARSHIP. Taking part in a training program means they can earn up to $250,000 in wages–plus, benefits–over the course of apprenticeship training, while also gaining valuable experience.
3. ESSENTIAL WORK THAT MEETS ESSENTIAL NEEDS – Essential work has a different meaning in the time of COVID-19, and many sheet metal workers have met the criteria of being essential across industries. Did you know that HVAC and air balancing professionals are responsible for air quality and safety of patients and healthcare providers at many hospitals and medical facilities? Or that sheet metal has been used to create portable sinks to allow safe handwashing and social distancing on job sites? Innovation is key.
4. COOL PROJECTS THAT CHALLENGE CREATIVITY – Not only do sheet metal workers get to channel creativity into design, fabrication, and construction, they can be proud of and show off their work, too. Sheet metal workers often express pride and happiness when viewing the buildings and installations they made possible. Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, and the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. are just a few.
5. ONE OF THE FASTEST-GROWING INDUSTRIES – Sheet metal is one of the fastest-growing industries in North America. Employment of sheet metal workers is projected to grow 8% from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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[Ed note: We need to update the posters so that they are appropriate for counselors and teachers to hang in their offices and classrooms (as in, directed at students); also we may need to update the branding and provide a way to order.]