PHOENIX - The Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors' National Association's Arizona Chapter (SMACNA Arizona) says it expects a surge in training at the Sheet Metal Trades Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (JATC) program over the next several months due to the announced closing of Phoenix-based Universal Technical Institute Inc.'s HVACR program.

Universal Technical Institute recently announced that it will phase out its HVACR program over the next 12-14 months due to what it says are strategic and financial difficulties with student recruitment and creating awareness about career opportunities.

With this closure, SMACNA Arizona contractors see a tremendous opportunity to further establish their reputation as a leader in providing skills training and apprenticeship programs and their commitment to quality work and ensuring quality workers for the future.

"The JATC, which is jointly supervised and funded by SMACNA Arizona and Sheet Metal Workers International Association Arizona Local 359, provide a quality training program that provides hands-on training and state of the art technical knowledge, leading to well-trained workers who are prepared to work in today's sheet metal and air conditioning industry," said Lou Maple, JATC Training Coordinator. "And trained union craftspeople have more than a job. They have a career, earn more money, take better care of their families, and can plan for the future as a trained union craftsperson in the sheet metal and air conditioning industry."

There are currently nearly 150 students in the JATC program.

SMACNA's Arizona chapter has contributed more than $2.5 million statewide towards skills training and apprenticeships programs over the past three years.

For more information on SMACNA Arizona, call 602-734-0214. For more information on the JATC, call 602-275-6511.

Publication date: 12/08/2003