Silicon Valley Mechanical of San Jose, California, has partnered with a group of construction industry professionals in its second year of the Heavy Metal Summer Experience (HMSE), a three-week-long hands-on introduction to plumbing, piping and sheet metal for high school students from underserved communities interested in the building trades.

Silicon Valley Mechanical, SNIPS NEWS' 2023 Contractor of the Year, will host up to 18 high school students from San Jose and other Bay Area communities for the #HeavyMetalSummer workshops on June 28. These sessions will occur on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:30-5 p.m. over three weeks for a total of 11, 2.5-hour training-sessions led by construction professionals. Also included will be two Local Union Tours.

Just a few examples of things the students will learn include how to mold piping to make a lamp, build their own toolboxes out of sheet metal and form a device-holder out of copper. And the best part: everything that they make will get to go home with them.

“The goal in establishing HMSE was to creatively promote apprentice opportunities for young adults, and with the help of a couple of benevolent and professional construction contractors, we did just that,” said SMACNA CEO Vince Sandusky. “After the completion of the camps this summer, we look forward to expanding this model across the country, getting other SMACNA members involved to run similar programs for students in the future.”

HMSE is hoping to raise awareness for soon-to-be graduating high school students about the opportunities available to them in the building trades. Apprenticeships in this field are particularly attractive because it offers an opportunity to be paid while you train. And, while often presented as an alternative to college, many technical and community colleges count apprentice training courses as college credit.

Thanks to some generous donations from partners and sponsors, HMSE will provide each student with Red Wing work boots on their first day in #HeavyMetalSummer to wear for the entire experience and beyond, standard construction industry personal protection equipment (hard hat, vest, safety glasses and gloves) and a full took-kit to fill out the toolboxes they will build. The tools are theirs to take home at graduation.