Volume 7, Issue Number 1 May 22, 2002

A Competitive Edge in Minnesota

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Achieving a stronghold in the residential market requires taking advantage of every edge. In the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn. their competitive edge is the city code that recognizes the Metro Area Joint Apprenticeship Training Center (JATC) as an authorized training source.

Required by city codes to perform residential/commercial work, a competency card certifies that training was completed in an approved program. The three-year residential training program offered at the Metro Area JATC provides more than the necessary training to receive the mandatory competency card.

“We are very proud of the curriculum developed for the training program,” commented Jim Bigham, CEO of SMARCA of Minnesota. “As a registered apprentice, the students begin working in the field in their first year and upon completion receive their competency card.”

The program encompasses course work in safety, refrigeration, mathematics, equipment installation, electricity and troubleshooting. Upon completion of the 584-hour curriculum, students have successfully mastered the full range of skills to be an effective residential technician.

“What really matters is providing the apprentices with the best picture of what to expect on the job,” explained Buck Paulsrud, training coordinator of the Metro Area JATC. “A model of a two-story home in the training center is used by each class. The apprentices perform a complete system installation.”

“We currently have close to 65 apprentices in the program,” continued Mr. Paulsrud. “The majority of the students are recent high school graduates or workers with some sheet metal skills leaving the non-union sector. Our contractors are very involved in setting the curriculum and offering suggestions.”

“We are very encouraged by what the JATC is providing in new training for residential apprentices,” commented Mark Sims, of Suburban Air Conditioning in Minneapolis. “The program has added more training in customer service and system design/layout. These are the skills that will produce a well-rounded journeyman able to handle the challenges of the job.”

Editor: Rosalind P. Raymond rraymond@smacna.org  |  Asst. Editor/Writer: Cynthia Young cyoung@smacna.org

Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors' National Association
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