SACRAMENTO, Calif. — To help generate awareness of and interest in a career in the skilled trades, the California chapter of the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (CAL SMACNA) has launched Choose Bigger California, a recruitment program for industry professionals both in the field and in the office.

“Maintaining a legacy of skilled talent in the construction industry is essential to economic growth, as well as public health and safety,” said Chris Walker, CAL SMACNA executive vice president. “We’re excited to launch this new initiative to continue the excellence and quality of workmanship our state and country is accustomed to. Our association represents the interests of more than 600 union sheet metal and air conditioning contractors throughout California, and we’re committed to investing in the resources that will provide rewarding opportunities to bright young men and women to keep the pride of our industry moving forward into the 21st century.”

Choose Bigger California was designed with two distinct audiences in mind: apprenticeship candidates and students who are working toward or have obtained a college degree.

Potential applicants to the apprenticeship program can browse an overview of a career in California’s sheet metal industry, including average wages, career benefits, and requirements of a successful candidate. After five years of paid hands-on training in a state-of-the-art training center, apprentices earn journeyperson status.

“We have a great pension, we have a great salary as journeymen, we’re in a membership that’s 6,100 members strong,” said Mike Debellis, a 2010 graduate of the Local 105 JATC. “We do a lot of different projects, from high-profile tenant improvement, remodels, retrofit, new construction — the list goes on. Apprenticeship programs are great for men and women that are looking for opportunities to advance themselves and pursue a career path that extends 30 years.”

Those with a college degree can discover how to use their education in the trades. Once on the site, students can filter opportunities in the sheet metal industry by type of degree, interest or career options, like design engineer or financial controller.

The recruitment campaign also extends to the parents, school counselors, and other influencers in a student’s life. Even if a student isn’t actively looking for a career, it’s possible someone they trust can guide them to choose a future for themselves among one of the industry’s many diverse career specialties. In the coming months, each target audience will be exposed to Choose Bigger California messaging through various digital platforms.

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