After 27 years serving the State of Virginia as a vocational sheet metal instructor for a correction’s facility, Jackie Price set out to answer a question employers who would hire his students constantly asked him: “Where can I send my employees to learn what you’re doing?”

 “I said I didn’t know any place unless you could get incarcerated,” Price says, noting his remote part of Virginia is far away from sheet metal local apprenticeship programs as well. For non-union employers, tin knocking and duct fabrication training relies almost exclusively on mentorship and experience from working various custom jobs.

Price founded his Sheet Metal Ductwork Fabrication School in Burkeville, Virginia, in 2010 after retiring from his state job. Since then, he’s become a mentor to hundreds of aspiring tin knockers. 

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Mostly, employers send their newer hires to his Burkeville, Virginia, based school – as Price has designed a curriculum that’s all-inclusive and suitable for absolute beginners. His three-day long program has become so popular he ends up teaching a class at least once a week, mostly to HVAC contractors wanting to make their own custom transitions and plenums for change outs. In addition to change outs, he does custom ductwork fabrication training for complete new home construction and older remodels.

“We have a furnace, I come up with a scenario and say here's the system, you've got to make a plan for it and make it up while you're here,” Price says. “So they actually get to do everything, hands on, just like if they were working on a home."

Still, he has more experienced students come to him as well – including apprentices wanting to practice what they’ll do later on in their apprenticeships. 

“We jump right into the fabrications they’re going to encounter at a later date and it’s a lot of fun,” Price says.

For the sheet metal veteran who first got his start in the industry doing residential installations in 1969, educating the next generation is his life-long legacy. He even taught one of his daughters how to form ductwork, and even though she’s since moved to Montana to teach English, she still comes home and works in the shop. The duo even taught her husband last time they visited.

“I’m one proud father,” Price says.

To learn more about Sheet Metal Ductwork Fabrication School and to schedule your visit, call (434)-603-7827 or email Price offers his services free of charge to vocational programs and community colleges as well. For individuals who come to Price on their own, not on behalf of an employer, Price says he'll usually offer the training for a reduced rate.