New Agreement Aids Sheet Metal Apprentices in Earning Associate’s Degree

The Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association and the Ohio Board of Regents have reached an agreement geared toward helping apprentices earn their associates degree.

The agreement means individuals working as union apprentices can now earn up to 60 percent of the credits they need to graduate with an associate’s degree from an accredited state college, which is a substantial increase from the prior level amount of 40 percent. The change means apprentices can now count math and science courses at their JATC toward their graduation requirements.

With most construction trades placing an ever-increasing emphasis on math and science, the Ohio Board of Regents and SMIA concluded that it makes sense now to count their classroom time dealing with math and science at their JATC as part of the college experience.

Sheet Metal Workers Local 33 has a 32,000-square-foot training center located in Cleveland. The JATC contains classrooms and lab space where apprentices learn welding, sheet metal specific, and safety courses, as well as classroom time in computer-aided drafting (CAD), computer aided manufacturing (CAM), project management, reading plans and specifications (blueprint reading), supervisory training, and trade related mathematics. Local 33 has helped Ohio to have one of the nation’s largest apprenticeship programs in the entire country.

According to, the credits can be received through Tri-C, Columbus State Community College, and Owens Community College, and can be transferred once the apprentices graduate from the program.

This type of program is not new, as the Ohio Board of Regents currently has the same agreement with several other unions, including the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). The Northeast Ohio Media Group also reports that The United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters (UA) are working with the Board of Regents to come up with a similar solution.

Click here to read the full story at


  1. Matt cameron-
    March 25, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    I talked with a Co worker who was in the union and he gave me some background information about the training and program. I’m definitely interested and I read applications are entered in the second Monday of each month. Where would I need to go to fill one out and apply? I’m currently in the HVAC field doing residential installation, but have been very interested in the sheet metal side of the trade.

    • Sheet Metal Workers Local 33-
      May 18, 2015 at 3:49 pm

      Matt – Sorry for delayed reply.

      For Application and Information Contact John Nesta at:
      Sheet Metal Workers Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee
      12525 Corporate Drive
      Parma, OH 44130