PartnersINProgress SMACNA & SMARTâ€”Building a Future Together
SMACNA and SMART join forces to adapt in the technology revolution
PartnersINProgress SMACNA & SMART—Building a Future Together
JOSEPH SELLERS, JR. ANGELA SIMON Co-Publishers KAARIN ENGELMANN email@example.com Editor-in-Chief
10 Photo credit: Natalie Bruckner
March 2020 - Volume 14, Number 3
3 CHANGING PLANS, PEOPLE, TECHNOLOGY, AND A TINY VIRUS SMACNA and SMART work together to get through unprecedented times. 4
BACK TO BASICS
SMACNA and SMART work together to adapt to a changing future. Sheet metal apprenticeships prepare for a modern HVAC career.
JESSICA KIRBY firstname.lastname@example.org Editor POINT ONE MEDIA INC. email@example.com Creative Services
Partners in Progress is a publication of the Sheet Metal Industry LaborManagement Cooperation Fund. All contents ©2020 by the Sheet Metal Industry Labor-Management Cooperation Fund, P.O. Box 221211, Chantilly, VA 20153-1211. Find Partners in Progress online at pinp.org or at issuu.com/ partnersinprogress. An archive of all issues is available and printed copies may be ordered for a minimal fee. For comments or questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
8 FORGING THE FUTURE Industry bands together to address emerging technology trends. S HE E T M E TA L | A I R | R A I L | T R A N S P O R TAT I O N
10 2020 PARTNERS IN PROGRESS CONFERENCE Partners from across North America were All In for cooperation. 14 DIGITAL MARKETING Social media presents key opportunities for organizations to reach their target audiences.
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Changing plans, people, technology ... And a tiny virus
Not long ago at the Partners in Progress Conference, Nate Scott and Clark Ellis of Continuum Advisory Group warned that today’s world brings many risks and that we were closer to the next recession than the last one. Still, at the time: the United States economy was in the midst of its longest expansion in history (127 months); unemployment was at a cycle low of 3.5%; non-residential construction had grown every year since 2011 to a level 10% above the peak in 2007; and economic forecasters felt the risk of a national economic recession had diminished. Within two weeks, a full-blown pandemic hit the entire world, closed borders, halted most construction, and changed all the rules. By the end of March, construction industry employment had declined by 29,000—up to 6.9%. And while that sounds bad, employment reports in future months are likely to be even worse. According to Engineering News-Record magazine, “With fears related to COVID-19 and the resulting economic uncertainty, the future is ‘cloudy at best.’” Richard Branch, chief economist at Dodge Data & Analytics, expects a recession to persist into the second and third quarters of 2020. Yet SMACNA contractors and their labor partners in places like Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Chicago, New York, and California are putting in extra hours working on essential jobs, such as building field hospitals. How can we as a labor-management partnership work together to weather this storm and create solutions that make us nimble enough to face whatever the future brings? Stanley McChrystal, a former United States Army general and founder of the McChrystal Group, recounted in a recent New York Times article that after 9/11, the Army had to redesign how the organization communicated, shared information, made decisions, and maintained a cohesive culture. A place to start is putting people first—as we covered in the February issue and we see every day as we redesign work processes to ensure greater spacing between each person on a job site, provide hand sanitizers and face masks, and use more video conferencing and telecommuting. SMACNA, SMART, and SMOHIT all have COVID-19 Information and Resources posted to their websites and arriving in inboxes daily. Demonstrating this commitment, Hillery Company, a SMACNA-member metal fabrication shop in Groton, Connecticut, and Local 40 craftspersons volunteered to cut metal nose strips to make homemade face masks more effective. The project started with 50 nose strips and has blossomed into requests from more than 3,000 people across the country for 150,000 metal nose strips. (Check our social media and a future issue for more information.)
As of April 9, SMACNA-member fabrication shop Hillery Company and Local 40 craftspersons have sent out approximately 1,000 separate orders for 150,000 items. The demand has become so large that SMART stepped in to coordinate orders and send them to Locals and contractors who are willing to donate their services. (See the ad on the back page of this issue and email email@example.com to volunteer your services or visit actionnetwork.org/forms/nosepiece-request-form.) Another thing to do is to be efficient as possible by using new technologies. That is what this issue of Partners in Progress is all about—ways that SMACNA and SMART are working together to adapt to a changing future. When you can take a break from the COVID-19 coverage, delve into the information here. As SMART General President Joe Sellers said at the Partners in Progress Conference, “we are uniquely positioned to become the single source provider in construction.” We will make it through this period that defies comparison— together—and come out the other side into a better place. After all, as NFL coach Herm Edwards said as he closed the 2020 Partners in Progress Conference, “If you can’t change the plan, it’s a bad plan.” ▪ Partners in Progress » March 2020 » 3
TECHNOLOGY REVOLUTION SMACNA and SMART work together to adapt to a changing future.
By / Natalie Bruckner • Photos courtesy of the ITI, Local 88, and Local 4
In today’s world technology is the number one driver of
change, no matter what industry you are in. This can seem a rather daunting concept, especially considering the speed at which technology is evolving and the impact it is having on the workforce. And yet, are the current changes we are experiencing really any different from previous iterative technological improvements? Remember the hand crank drill, which performed a job now done by a machine? Could technology help open up more opportunities to those in the industry and attract a more diverse workforce? Ron McGuire, BIM specialist at the International Training Institute (ITI), believes so. He is witnessing the benefits of technological advancements first-hand. “Technology provides us with an opportunity to gain more market share as our numbers become more competitive due to improved technological efficiencies,” he says. “It also gives our apprentices the chance to experience real-life scenarios and can extend the work life of those who may, for whatever reason, have had to leave the industry.” One example of this is John Sciara, project manager for SMACNA member CS3, Inc. in Tennessee. In 2016, Sciara suffered a stroke while out hunting with his son. For many, this could have meant the end of a successful 24-year career as a sheet metal worker. However, Sciara had the foresight a few years earlier to take an AutoCAD course, paid for by SMART Local 4 in Memphis and the ITI, as part of his union membership. It was fortuitous as this meant Sciara could continue working in the industry. To support him as he transitioned across, his employer invested in software that not only enabled Sciara to do his job better, but also the company. 4 » Partners in Progress » www.pinp.org
“John’s success story is a perfect example of the benefits of welcoming technology into our industry and the importance of adding it to our toolbox,” McGuire says. “It was not only an opportunity for him, but also for his contractor, as they were able to land more complex jobs that required state-of-the-art technology.” John Williams, business manager/financial secretary at Local 4, agrees. “We don’t want to stay in the Middle Ages,” he says. “It’s healthy for the industry to keep moving forward. With age, sheet metal workers notoriously get crooked spines and arthritis in their hands. Technology reduces the physical demands and increases longevity in the job. The reality is that technology will take on some of the more back-breaking, monotonous jobs, and it opens up new opportunities.”
CS3, along with Sciara, are proof of this. The company has become well known for combining cutting-edge control technologies with traditional contracting services in the mechanical/HVAC industry. Most recently, the company installed the Orion—a compact hybrid-style laser cutting machine that will allow CS3 to leverage this new material handling and cutting technology with time saving operations to meet the demands of its customers. CS3 personnel have been trained with the latest in 2D and 3D software that allows them to meet the demands of BIM technology, while using the direct throughput this new equipment offers. To further provide its members with opportunities in this field, Local 4 has embraced technology with both hands and sees it as an important part of training during every stage of its members’ careers. “Everything these days is plasma, laser, or waterjet,” Williams says. “That degree of technology is amazing, and it’s very much a part of training today. When you grow and learn you make yourself more valuable. “It’s amazing how well we’ve already adapted as an industry,” he adds. “Most of our members have iPads on the job sites, and our guys out in the field use their phones to make calculations for things like offsets. It’s nothing to be afraid of and not really new, when you think about it.” Williams adds that when he entered the industry in 1985 as an apprentice, he was writing DOS operating system code for his company’s punch press. That was before Windows came out. “I remember the program software changing to AutoCAD, which made things so much easier,” he says. “Now I click a button to write the code for the lasers and punch presses. Today, you can even 3D scan buildings and import that straight into AutoCAD, and BIM technology takes it from there. It amazes and excites me,” he says. There is, of course, a tendency for many to feel a little intimidated by technology. In fact, according to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, 55% of all employees fear automation and other innovations will take their jobs away. However, the truth is that technology is transforming the nature
of work as we know it and eliminating the need for workers who perform repetitive and often dangerous tasks. Rather than fewer jobs, it means different jobs requiring different skills. “For labor-management the best way to get people onboard is to show them the value behind it,” McGuire says. “Whether that’s via a presentation at a conference, like at Partners In Progress, or through a workshop at their local JATC, it’s about making people aware of the technology.” To meet demand, the ITI conducts what it calls strikeforce training to provide union members with the latest information on specific materials, equipment, or systems and to give JATC instructors the required knowledge to take that training forward. This can be anything from architectural specialization and Bluebeam Revu training (a solution used for converting Microsoft documents and CAD drawings into PDF format) to robotic stations. “In the last year or so, I’ve seen countless people change their minds after seeing robotic stations, and ultimately end up wanting a robot of their own,” McGuire says. “It’s an opportunity for both the member and the contractor when a robot can do something four or five times faster. Obviously, I am coming from the training and member side, but from the contractor side, it is a win-win to invest in something that will pay itself off in a few years and provide you a market advantage.” CS3’s project portfolio and Sciara’s story are strong indicators of the possibilities technology can help the industry realize. “I love what I do,” Sciara says. “I have a passion for it, but my body was telling me to slow down. I’m coming into my own with all the software. When I started, I was a stump on a log in Ron’s class. Being in poor health never entered my mind. I just wanted to learn something new and be better at what I do. I just saw it as an advantage.” ▪ Natalie is an award-winning writer who has worked in the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, the United States, and Canada. She has more than 23 years experience as a journalist, editor, and brand builder, specializing in construction and transportation.
“John’s success story is a perfect example of the benefits of welcoming technology into our industry and the importance of adding it to your toolbox,” says Ron McGuire, BIM specialist at the ITI.
Partners in Progress » March 2020 » 5
Back to Basics
Sheet metal apprentices prepare for a modern HVAC career By / Emell Derra Adolphus
Sheet Metal Workers Local 88 Training Director Ed Abraham was a third-year apprentice when he started drafting for one of the largest mechanical contractors in Las Vegas, Nevada. His first job was the Bellagio Hotel, he remembers. “They brought me into the trailer and said, ‘Here you go, start drawing.’” Then in 1995, the company told him he was out of a job because they were going to go computerized. “Well, I was willing to learn it, so they pulled me into the office and gave me the computer and software,” says Abraham, who ended up running the company’s CAD department for 28 years. “I was a one-man show for the largest mechanical contractor for a few years. I would slowly bring in people as jobs progressed, and I normally ran a crew of about 15 people.” Early on, the experience taught Abraham to learn as many new skills as he could. Now, drawing on his more than 34 years of experience in the sheet metal trade, Abraham has made learning as much as you can a major part of the JATC’s core curriculum. “That’s why we want a well-rounded sheet metal person,” he says. “Otherwise, you are just going to be sitting around on the books not working.” 6 » Partners in Progress » www.pinp.org
As training director, Abraham is responsible for running the apprenticeship school and hiring the instructors for the program. Currently Currently, he has 23 instructors working at the training center.
This semester Local 88 has a total of 114 apprentices. “That’s a 40% increase in the last two years,” says Abraham. The training cnetre also recently accepted 30 first-year apprentices to start the 2020-2021 school year. “Once they start the school year, we will be up 50% to 60%.”
Prospective students come from all over and from a wide array of work backgrounds. “They’ve had the dead-end jobs, and they say they are looking for a career,” says Abraham. “A lot of it is word of mouth from friends that are in the trade. They see that these apprentices are doing well, and they get interested. We also do a lot of career fairs.” The goal is to help new and potential recruits understand what a sheet metal worker is and the quality of career that is possible in the field. “Anyone who isn’t excited to get up and go to work should move on or find something different,” he says. “The more skills you learn, the easier it is to find something that you truly love and that makes you happy.”
YEAR I & II
In most apprenticeship programs, the first and second years focus on plans, specs and honing motor skills and fundamentals. “Get them familiar with working with hand tools and reading the tape measure and reading prints,” Abraham says. “It’s not really about making the fitting; it’s everything that goes along with it. Most of the fittings are burned out on plasma tables in our shops. ” In addition to the core curriculum of locks and seams, a crucial portion of the first-year program involves engaging apprentices to understand the situations and set-ups they will face at their daily jobs. For an instructor, “It’s like herding cats,” says Steve Emery, a first-year fabrication instructor. “Realistically, we usually like to start out the week off by asking everybody if there is anything new going on at work or if they have any questions about issues or topics coming up at work,” he says. “I find it way more important to teach something they can go back to work and use tomorrow instead of just going through the book itself.” Overall, Emery says that apprentices are very interested in understanding how all the many different relationships work together on a job site. “They are interested in the total structure of the companies and the business more so than reiterating what they are learning on the job or in the field,” he says.
How Things Have Changed
“The big technology when I was coming through was the plasma tables,” Emery says. “Plus, there were no emails and no cellphones. We had a one-way radio.” Last year, Nevada also adopted a new law that says first-year apprentices must complete a Fire and Life Safety Program to be certified to install fire dampers and inspect them.
Third year focuses on electives such as advanced welding, food service kitchen equipment, drafting or BIM, service, or testing and balancing. “They pick up two of those programs and run them throughout the year,” Abraham says. “In the recent 2 ½ years that I’ve been here, BIM and the CAD class have been overbooked. There was a shortage in getting detailers so everybody was signing up for that. The next most popular are the advance welding and service classes.” The HVACR service portion of the apprentice program isn’t new, but the knowledge base of an HVAC service technician versus a sheet metal worker is often misunderstood because there are so many service-only HVAC training programs. “That’s personal preference,” says Dave Heath, an HVACR service instructor with more than 30 years of service experience in the union. “Some guys enjoy being out in the field hanging metal. Other guys enjoy the technical aspect or the service side of it.”
Prospective students come from all over and from a wide array of work backgrounds. “They’ve had the dead-end jobs, and they say they are looking for a career,” says Local 88 Training Director Ed Abraham. “A lot of it is word of mouth from friends that are in the trade.” However, apprentices at Local 88 learn the fundamentals of how to cut sheet metal, fabricate duct, install the duct, and service the HVAC system so that they are able to fulfill any role in the process. In the service class, apprentices start on training boards, then they progress to servicing real, live AC units. “From there, we progress to checking compressors, fan motors, capacitors, etc.,” Heath says. “We try to cover everything.”
At year four, apprentices have the opportunity to take another set of electives or advance courses in electives they’ve previously studied. “These are the same class topics, but they all have an advanced component,” Abraham says. “Or apprentices can take an intro level in another service.” Apprentices can take more than two electives as at a time, as long as they don’t conflict. But the most important service the training center provides is flexibility, Abraham says. As the popularity of electives rise and fall according to the skills the market demands, he is able to change the curriculum to fit what is needed. When a class for a new in-demand skill is available, journeymen are notified. “We mail out letters to the entire membership and let them know what classes are available,” Abraham says. “That way we can get them into the class and get them certified to take any job they need. This ensures everyone stays working for as long as they want.” ▪ This article has been reprinted with permission from Snips magazine February 2020. Original link snipsmag.com/articles/94144-sheetmetal-apprenticeships-prepare-for-a-modern-hvac-career Partners in Progress » March 2020 » 7
FORGING THE FUTURE Industry bands together to address emerging technology trends.
By / Jessica Kirby • Photos courtesy of SMWTC
The Sheet Metal Workers Training Centre (SMWTC)
in Vancouver, British Columbia, has taken the leap into a technology-driven future with the support of SMACNA-BC’s contractor members. The centre participated in a project called, “Technology and an Inclusive Workforce: Forging our Future Sheet Metal Industry,” which was developed among industry partners including SMANCA, SMART, the ITI, and several others. Funded through the Canadian government’s Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP), this federal cost-sharing initiative was developed to improve the success of sheet metal workers using new equipment and to address emerging technology trends in the sheet metal industry. “We have implemented several pieces of equipment and software that will help apprentices stay abreast of the latest offered in training and work and ensure they are prepared to help their contractor employers stay profitable and productive,” says SMWTC Training Coordinator Jud Martell. Through the program, SMWTC apprentices and journeypersons will have access to and benefit from training on a mobile elevated work platform simulator, virtual reality/ augmented welding technology, and fan service equipment for a new specialty training course. The center’s welding equipment will also be upgraded to harmonize with technological changes to the welding process. Learning the equipment takes place using augmented reality in which the learning components are added to actual reality. 8 » Partners in Progress » www.pinp.org
“When the users look through the screen, they can see the world,” says Martell. “When you turn on the machine, it adds the welding points, equipment, and materials to create welding situations in our real world.” Martell says the UTIP project is a prime example of how the SMWTC is defining itself as a training center that embraces innovation. “We are trying to look into the future and recognize how things will be done differently in the world moving forward,” Martell says. “This technology is a part of that. I can imagine sitting around in 20 years and being surprised about what we didn’t see coming. Maybe by that time, you will go to work in a clean room with clean tools where you walk in and fire up your augmented space or your virtual tools to drive the robots that do the actual work,” he says. Knowing and understanding the technology is a key part of staying ahead of changes in the future, he adds. “Ours has traditionally been a reactive industry. We’ve realized that if we don’t think about new technologies or solutions until the contractors mention it, then someone else is probably already doing it.” Kevin Taylor, owner of City Sheet Metal in Vancouver, British Columbia, recognizes the ways technology continues to change the industry. “From computer software, project managing programs, safety sites, equipment, advertising, and training, technology has increasingly become part of our business,” Taylor says. “Since
taking over City Sheet Metal in 2008, we have incorporated all of the things listed above in order to stay competitive in a forever changing market.” Competitiveness is the main reason City Sheet Metal has adopted new technology as needed, but these decisions were also made out of a keen understanding that failure to innovate means certain doom in the construction industry. “It is easy to sit back and pat yourself on the back and think you are doing a great job,” Taylor says. “But if you are not thinking about the future and how you can improve your team, you will quickly fall behind.”
It is, however, almost mandatory in order to get them done on time.” In the long run, it is up to contractors and the labor force to work together, evolve together, and approach the future of construction in a unified, open-minded way, Taylor says. As a board member at the SMWTC, Taylor feels it is essential and that the center is obligated, as industry leaders, to train apprentices on all the new technology available.
The willingness and drive to be part of innovation in the industry is something that sets SMWTC apart, Martell says. “We can’t have contractors say, ‘we are thinking about this thing’ and say, ‘okay we will think about that later’,” he says. “Just look at the 80s when people were talking about computerassisted drawing and manufacturing, and people were saying, ‘That’s crazy talk. It’s never going to happen.’ Now, CAM and CAD are normal.” He adds that everyone who didn’t take the evolution of computer-aided drawing seriously suddenly found themselves surprised and untrained because they didn’t get ahead of it. “You have to get on board,” Martell says. “Some of the union people were the ones who failed to adopt, and you can actually track the rise in work for the non-union side to coincide with this time period. In the beginning, everyone also thought it was a crazy idea to put one trade into a training center and provide direct access and communication to the people building that trade, yet here we are.” Of course, some firmly believe that implementing technology and automating certain job functions hurts the industry. Seeing the scenario as one where a machine is displacing a human being can make implementation a hard sell. Taylor says technology is here to stay and firmly believes it doesn’t kill jobs but changes the way those jobs are completed. “Technology is allowing us to complete jobs quicker, safer, and more profitably,” he says. “We are constantly looking for people to join the industry, and with man hours continuing to rise, it is a hard argument to say that technology is killing jobs.
“The staff at the training center is constantly updating course content, adding new advanced training courses, and updating the equipment,” he says. “It now includes a virtual platform training lift along with the virtual welding machines. This will not only prepare our apprentices for the future; it may also attract the next generation into the trade.” Martell agrees that the SMWTC and its contractor partners don’t just do work for today—they also work to build the resilience and critical thinking to apply skills to whatever is coming next. “We are all it in together,” he says. “Partners are so important for building and maintaining our community.” ▪ Jessica Kirby is a freelance editor and writer covering construction, architecture, mining, travel, and sustainable living for myriad publications across Canada and the United States. She can usually be found in her home office or exploring nature’s bounty. Partners in Progress » March 2020 » 9
Partners in Progress
Photos courtesy of Partners in Progress staff
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HEARD OUT AND ABOUT
“When we change the skyline we become part of history.” Tauhira Ali, Milwaukee Tool Construction Technology Manager
“Our titles don’t dictate leadership, but that’s all that is—a title—unless you are willing to take the lead and listen.”
“We are here to become one team. If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” Angela Simon, SMACNA President
Joseph Sellers, Jr., SMART General President
“Encouraging women to enter into our industry is not about being politically correct; its about doing what is right and what is right for the industry.” Vincent Sandusky, SMACNA CEO
“Let’s challenge ourselves for a better industry.”
“If we don’t go into negotiations with an aligned vision, we are going in to fight.” Stephane McShane, Maxim Consulting Group
Joseph Sellers, Jr., SMART General President
“Build flexibility into your business and labor force to be able to add value during uncertain economic times.” Clark Ellis, Continuum Advisory Group
“Some of our non-union members are utilizing technology and we need to do that, too. Even though change can be uncomfortable, we, SMART and SMACNA, are working together to further develop that.” Angela Simon, SMACNA President
Partners in Progress » March 2020 » 11
Partners in Progress Conference
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HEARD OUT AND ABOUT “It feels good to effect change and know you’re leading the industry into a better future.” ~ Joseph Sellers, Jr., SMART General President
“The only way we are going to survive as an industry is if we are willing to teach and mentor the next generation.” ~ Angela Simon, SMACNA President
“The best way to bring a woman into the trade is to have a woman already in it. That’s your best resource. Women need to see it’s a possibility.” ~ Leah Rambo, SMART Local 28 Training Center
“Technology isn’t to take your job. It’s to make your job easier so you can get more work done and be more productive.” ~ Larry Lawrence, ITI
“As a leader you have the obligation to serve your employees and give them an opportunity to succeed.” ~ Herm Edwards, NFL Coach
“A lot of us are going to be reporting to the youngsters. The Millennials are going to be a dominant force in our workforce, and they have a lot to teach us old dogs.”
“Get out there and take advantage of the programs available!” ~ Rob Biederman, director of SMART Capital
~ Stephane McShane, Maxim Consulting Group
Millennials change the game for the rest of us. They are more technologically advanced. It’s about understanding what their strengths are.” ~ Lisa Bordeaux, Mod Up Consulting
“Creativity is like a muscle. If you don’t use it, you lose it ... Sometimes we can see the same thing but have diametrically opposed interpretations.”
“Know the difference between backward accountability and forward accountability.” ~ Phillip Ragain, The RAD Group
~ Brent Darnell, Brent Darnell International
“A goal without a plan is a wish. What are your goals when you leave here?” ~ Herm Edwards, NFL Coach
Partners in Progress » March 2020 » 13
Digital Marketing Social media presents key opportunities for organizations to reach their target audiences. By / Jessica Kirby • Photo courtesy of Tim Eads
The difference between a trend and a fad is longevity.
A fad, like bottle flipping and bell-bottom jeans, is fashionable for a short time and then peters out, usually in less than a year. Trends, on the other hand, have staying power. They signify an enduring change in human behavior with the ability to influence markets and social norms. As social media use has become more prevalent over the years, opinions about whether it is a fad or a trend have wavered with the most extreme positions predicting its eventual fizzling out. But since Facebook was launched in 2004, the function, form, and importance of social media has only grown, securing its position as an important trend and a mainstay in social, political, and marketing life. When it comes to business and recruitment, this can only mean one thing: if you are using social media to reach your target audience, you have an important advantage, and if you aren’t, it is time to start. Lisa Bordeaux, consultant to the SMACNA-SMART Best Practices Market Expansion Task Force, and Paul Pimental, communications and research for SMART, presented on digital marketing through social media at the 2020 Partners in Progress conference. 14 » Partners in Progress » www.pinp.org
“To best leverage social media’s reach, it is essential to understand who is using it and how,” Bordeaux says. According to the presentation, 90.4% of Millennials, 77.5% of Generation X, and 48.2% of Baby Boomers are using social media. “Sixtyseven percent of users do so to stay connected with family, friends, and colleagues, and nearly half of users are looking to reconnect with old friends and acquaintances,” Bordeaux says. “That says a lot about where people are getting information and recommendations they trust.” Because it has surpassed fad status and become entrenched as an influential trend, social media marketing carries with it a certain credibility. People trust what they see, though not necessarily at face value. In fact, 49% of consumers rely on brand influencers when making a buying decisions (see the Augusst 2019 issue of Partners in Progress for more on brand influencers). “Brand influencers and brand ambassadors are the people who can best carry our message because they are experienced and relatable,” Bordeaux says. “There is real power in that.” Users spend an average 2.2 hours per day on social media and messaging, which means there is time to get their attention. But
how? First, by finding out who they are and what they are after. The Best Practices Task Force and ITI delivered a series of surveys to young people to help build recruitment efforts. They wanted to now which social media channels where best suited for reaching the intended audience, what kind of messaging would be meaningful to new recruits, and who needed to deliver that message. “Because most users are connecting with friends and family through social media, they are most likely to share and receive trustworthy information about career choices from friends and family,” Pimental says. “This is where the brand ambassador program was born. Brand ambassadors are the best of the industry. They are the ideal worker and they are relatable.” To help channel the message, the Best Practices Task Force used the data it collected to create personas of their ideal recruits to better tailor their marketing messages. Consider the following persona. “Josh” is an 18- to 25-year-old high school graduate who likes welding, drafting, and gaming design. He dreams of financial independence and fears never finding a meaningful career. Josh wants to live the dream. He wants to be independent from his parents and he abhors debt. He’s not ready to start a family, and he hates the idea of sitting at a desk. He values his independence and meaningful work, and he is looking for the perfect career fit. If you want to get through to Josh, you have top speak his language. You have to use videos and materials he can interact with and manipulate. Josh appreciates guides and lists; he relates to narrative stories of SMART members having success; and he appreciates checklists that show him exactly how to find and choose a great career. Looking beyond Josh as an individual, recruitment efforts
must speak to Josh’s entire generation. Research says Millennials and Generation Z want very specific things from their employers. They want help navigating their career paths, straight feedback, coaching and mentoring, sponsorship for formal development programs, and the ability to work within flexible schedules. From their employers, they expect opportunities to develop skills for the future, strong values, customizable benefits packages, work-life blend/balance, and a clear career direction. Most importantly, they are hungry to learn. They want to learn technical skills, self-management and personal productivity, leadership, industry or functional knowledge, and creativity and innovation strategies—and it’s up to their employers to teach them. “Making the research work for your organization means translating what you offer into what new recruits are looking for,” Pimental says. “The sheet metal industry offers mentorship, a clear career path, technical skills, leadership, strong values, flexible benefits, work-life integration and functional/industry knowledge—it’s up to us to show them how.” For help leveraging social media in your digital marketing plan, reach out to the Best Practices Task Force via pinp. org. Its My Job is My Gym (#MJMG) campaign celebrates the physical benefit of a career in sheet metal and offers monthly prizes for participation on social media. Customizable marketing materials are also available, and three webinars have been scheduled for 2020. Download the presentation notes and resources from Partners in Progress Conference 2020 at pinp. org. ▪ Jessica Kirby is a freelance editor and writer covering myriad topics for publications across Canada and the United States.
Best Practices Market Expansion Task Force Announces Recruitment Webinar Series The SMACNA/SMART Best Practices Market Expansion Task Force will be conducting a four-part webinar series throughout 2020 focused on the topic of recruitment. The Task Force has developed several resources designed to support local industry recruiting efforts. This webinar series will present new resources as they become available, in addition to the materials that are currently provided. Hosted by Lisa Bourdeaux, the initial webinar in this series will be held on Tuesday, June 9 at 2:00 pm EDT (11:00 am PDT), and will include an introduction to several newly developed resources available to SMACNA Members: • A PowerPoint presentation to use when presenting to schools and guidance counselors;
• The website that is available for ordering customizable resources; and • An overview of future campaigns in the 2020 plan. Additionally, the webinar series will provide updates on resources previously made available, as well as updates on Brand Ambassador winners and other relevant news. Webinar series dates and times are as follows: • Tuesday, June 9 at 2:00 pm EDT (11:00 am PDT) • Tuesday, September 15 at 2:00 pm EDT (11:00 am PDT) • Tuesday, November 17 at 2:00 pm EDT (11:00 am PDT) Learn more at pinp.org/resources/recruiting/ Partners in Progress » March 2020 » 15