Founders of the Heavy Metal Summer Experience are producing a playbook so other organizations can create their own camps.

SMACNA released the following Member Update regarding one of the most pressing issues facing the construction industry today; recruiting new people into the trades. Fortunately, some very bright minds in the industry have come up with a creative way to help address the issue.

Enter the Heavy Metal Summer Experience (HMSE), a six-week camp program held this summer to introduce underserved high school students to the sheet metal trade as well as plumbing and piping. Twenty-five students attended the two HMSE camps: one at Western Allied Mechanical of Menlo Park, Calif., and the other at Hermanson Company LLC in Kent, Wash. SMACNA’s Western Washington Chapter and Construction for Change were also key players in the pilot program. Both camps were based on the same format, a brainchild of SMACNA President Angie Simon.

“It really was a huge success,” said Simon, who is CEO of Western Allied Mechanical. Simon initiated the idea for the camp and then developed it with Rick Hermanson, CEO of Hermanson Company, as well as staff members from both companies. “The kids were really engaged and enjoyed every minute of it.”

In fact, almost all of the students who were eligible for pre-apprentice programs have shown their commitment by filling out the necessary applications to join the trade and union. The kids learned how to bend piping to make a lamp, build their own toolboxes out of sheet metal, and form a device holder out of copper.

Another cool aspect of the program is that Simon and Hermanson are putting together a “playbook” for SMACNA contractors, JATCs and chapters who are interested in started similar camps in their area.  “The playbook is an immense shortcut that covers everything we learned during this successful program from planning projects, scheduling the programs to insurance and waivers. We offer guidance on every aspect,” Simon says. “We are giving the playbook away so our entire industry can benefit, customize the programs to meet their needs and reduce the time commitment to set these up and find participants.”

CLICK HERE to view SMACNA’s full press release.

To learn more, click here to watch an informative video on the Heavy Metal Summer Experience.