Program celebrated first year, sixth class Aug. 27

Fifteen members of the United States military graduated as the sixth class of the SMART Heroes program Aug. 27 at the Western Washington Sheet Metal training center, located at 2725 Williamson Place, Suite 100, in DuPont, Washington.

The class is made up of 13 current members of the Army and Air Force who will transition to civilian life in the next four months and two recent veterans.

They are Staff Sgt. James Anderson, Air Force; Staff Sgt. Jason Dye, Army; Spc. Brandon Glenn, Army; Spc. Albert Grillo, Army; Spc. Colton Hykes, Army; Spc. Trevyr Kerscher, Army; Spc. Zachary Malecha, Army; Spc. Everett McFarlane (veteran), Army; Sgt. 1st Class Marco Orihuela (veteran), Army; Sgt. Drew Russell, Army; Senior Airman Joseph Sanchirico, Air Force; Staff Sgt. Andrew Schwartz, Army; Spc. Samuel Sylvester, Army; Spc. Joshua Taylor, Army; and Spc. Johnathan Williams, Army.

In order to graduate, veterans completed a seven-week course to earn the equivalent of their first-year sheet metal apprentice training (224 hours). Upon discharge from service, these graduates may choose to enter any of the 150-plus SMART apprenticeship programs in the United States and be provided direct entry and advanced placement as a second-year sheet metal apprentice, including a high probability of obtaining second-year apprentice wages and benefits.

Congressman Denny Heck addressed those present along with Gary Olson, of the Career Skills Program at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and dignitaries from the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) and the International Training Institute, which together with the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA), created the program in collaboration with SMART Local 66, SMACNA Western Washington, Western Washington Sheet Metal JATC and Helmets to Hardhats.

Launched in August 2018, the SMART Heroes Program was established to provide free sheet metal industry training to enlisted U.S. Military men and women who plan to enter the civilian life within the year, thereby assisting in a successful transition into the civilian workforce. Adjacent to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the Western Washington Sheet Metal JATC seemed the ideal host for the inaugural SMART Heroes class.

For additional information on SMART Heroes, visit or call the International Training Institute at 703-739-7200.

Originally posted on Eye on Sheet Metal.