Mechanical Industries: Foundations for the Trades training future tradesmen and tradeswomen

Contact: Julie Walsh,

Phone: 608-288-1414

Attachment – Photos

Urban League of Greater Madison’s program toured 1901, Inc. and GHAC on Monday for hands-on experience

MADISON, WI – Madison Area Mechanical and Sheet Metal Contractors Association (MSC) and Madison Association of Plumbing Contractors (MAPC) brought the students of the current Foundations for the Trades class, presented by the Urban League of Greater Madison, for tours at 1901, Inc. and General Heating & Air Conditioning for a hands-on experience in the trades of plumbing, sheet metal and steamfitting on Monday, August 19, MSC/MAPC Executive Director Julie Walsh announced on Tuesday. MAPC also brought out Human Resources Manager Lisa Reiter, fourth year plumbing apprentice Anthony Hamilton, and first year plumbing apprentice Jessica Karpinski, all from Monona Plumbing and Fire Protection, to speak with the class on Thursday, August 15.

Foundations for the Trades is a seven-week program that teaches individuals in the community interested in the trades the foundational skills needed for careers in the construction industry. The class includes nearly 100 hours of hands-on training on a real construction site. Participants graduate with industry recognized certifications including OSHA 10, First Aid/CPR, National Flagging, PACT Modules I-IV, and Wisconsin Bureau of Apprenticeship Pre-Apprenticeship certification.

The program also helps students to create a resume, polish interviewing skills, pass placement exams, and develop the soft skills needed to become successful.

“The Urban League and the Foundations for the Trades program are really great resources for our community,” explained Walsh. “They provide opportunities to individuals who may not have them otherwise. As an association, we appreciate the opportunity to share our Union contractor members with the students of the current class. We look forward to future partnerships with the Urban League and the Foundations for the Trades!”

On Monday, 13 students and their instructor, Terry Birts, hopped on a bus provided by MSC/MAPC, and headed over to 1901, Inc. Mark Reed, Vice President of Operations at 1901, Inc., gave the group a tour of the Sheet Metal Shop where they each made a metal toolbox. Then, they all learned how to solder pipes together in the Plumbing Shop. The last stop at 1901, Inc. was a trip to the Welding Shop and they were able to speak to the employees as they were welding to learn more about what they do for a living.

Next, the students went to General Heating and Air Conditioning where Labor Manager, Mike Polster, showed everyone around the Fabrication Shop. The students learned how the machinery works to cut sheet metal, and they also created metal toolboxes with the help of several General Heating and Air Conditioning employees. Following the tour, Polster met with the students and shared the different apprenticeships available through their company and their parent company, Hooper Corporation. He also explained some of the projects that they did and some of the work that a sheet metal journeyworker and a steamfitting journeyworker do.

“I truly believe that we are sharing information with these students which allows them to remove barriers and learn different aspects of the trades so they can make an informed decision about their futures,” said Walsh. “Choosing a career is a big step for anyone, and we are lucky enough to give them a little peak into what plumbing, sheet metal and steamfitters do day-in and day-out. We are happy to be a resource to help these individuals choose the right path for their future and their families.”

Reed, Polster, and Reiter all shared valuable information on how to get hired on by their companies and other Madison construction companies. Those members of the Foundations for the Trades class who are interested in plumbing, sheet metal, and steamfitting took advantage of meeting with 1901, Inc., General Heating and Air Conditioning, and Monona Plumbing and Fire Protection in the hopes of one day working for them.

For more information on MSC/MAPC, Foundations for the Trades, and the Urban League, please contact Julie Walsh, Executive Director at 608-288-1414 or