Students from northwest, Alaska, Colorado to compete in Pasco March 30-31

The Southeast Washington/Northeast Oregon Sheet Metal Training and Technology Center will host the 2017 Northwest Apprentice Contest March 30 and 31 after a seven-year hiatus. It will take place from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, March 30 (contest) and from 8 to 11:30 a.m. (contest) and 7 p.m. (awards ceremony) Friday, March 31.

The contest will take place at the Southeast Washington/Northeast Oregon Sheet Metal Training and Technology Center, 1718 W. Sylvester St. in Pasco, Washington, and the awards will be presented at the Red Lion Hotel Columbia Center/Kennewick, 1101 Columbia Center Blvd., in Kennewick, Washington.

Apprentices will compete in many hands-on skills categories, including fabrication, shop work and welding.

The regional competition was open to union training centers in the Northwest, Canada and surrounding areas served by the International Training Institute (ITI), the education arm of the unionized sheet metal, air conditioning and welding industry. Apprentices from Washington, Northern and Central Idaho, Oregon, Colorado, Montana and Alaska will test their skills on written tests, shop work, fabrication, drafting and welding.

Apprenticeship is one of the nation’s oldest forms of education and more than 14,000 sheet metal apprentices at over 150 training facilities across the United States and Canada attend classes and learn on the job. While their college counterparts often graduate with debt, unionized sheet metal apprentices often leave school with college credits, a career and zero debt. The ITI is jointly sponsored by SMART, the International Association of Sheet Metal Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (formerly the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association) and the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA).