In late August, more than a dozen elected officials toured the Sheet Metal Workers Local 33 Training Center in Cleveland and took part in a roundtable discussion about energy efficiency and good-paying jobs.
Local 33 and the Cleveland chapter of Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA) hosted the legislators and business leaders at the Local 33 training center, highlighting the benefits of energy efficiency for Ohio’s economy, including the creation of good-paying jobs performed by Local 33 members.
“With more than 78,000 Ohioans working in the growing energy efficiency sector, the numbers speak for themselves,” said Mike Coleman, President and Business Manager of Local 33. “Investments in energy efficiency support good, local jobs that can’t be outsourced, while helping businesses save money.”
The tour was attended by Ohio House Minority Assistant Leader Rep. Nicholas Celebrezze (D-Parma), State Sen. Larry Obhof (R-Medina), Rep. Tom Patton (R-Strongsville), Rep. Martin Sweeney (D-Cleveland), Rep. Sarah LaTourette (R-Chesterland), State Sen. Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland) and Cleveland City Council President Kevin J. Kelley.
Attendees learned firsthand how a strong energy efficiency policy has spurred local job creation and job training across Ohio, while helping Ohio businesses to be more competitive and save energy.
The Local 33 training center is one of only five Sheet Metal training centers in North America to feature state-of-the-art HVAC upgrades and balancing systems, which optimize energy use in ductwork, piping and insulation. These systems can cut energy usage by up to 30 percent.
Local 33 members receive extensive training as apprentices and additional upgrade training as journeymen in order to stay on top of all the technological changes that occur within their industry. This training makes them the most highly-skilled and highly-trained journeymen in the industry, capable of working on the most complicated and technologically-advanced projects.
The visiting legislators learned this training does not cost the taxpayers any money, as it is paid for by SMACNA and Local 33 members.
Patton told the Midwest Energy News he was impressed by the training and the collaboration between union members and contractors that fund the training facility.
“We talk about job training all the time,” Patton said. “This is job training right here.”
As technology continues to advance, it is imperative to have a highly-trained workforce capable of performing the work correctly the first time.
“To stay competitive, we have to keep up with new energy efficiency technology so we can offer our customers the latest options to improve comfort and save money,” said Thomas E. Martin, President of SMACNA Cleveland and President of T.H. Martin, Inc. “Through the training center, our employees get the skills we need to remain on the cutting edge. That drives our success at projects like the Blossom Music Center, where high-efficiency upgrades to the HVAC systems keeps entertainers and the orchestra comfortable when performing, while saving energy and money.”
Martin reminded attendees that these types of projects provide work for union journeymen and apprentices, engineers, architects, suppliers and other support jobs – most of which cannot be outsourced.