In early 2000, Michael Sullivan, general president of the Sheet Metal Workers' International Association was approached by Rubin Rodriguez and other representatives of the Collegio de los Trabajdores de Servicios inquiring about sheet metal training centers - and how they could go about building one of these world-class training centers in San Juan. Always ready to expand upon the over 165 training centers the SMWIA and SMACNA currently operate, Sullivan visited Puerto Rico and made the commitment to bring the quality of SMWIA and SMACNA training to the workers of San Juan.

Six years after this initial meeting, that commitment has become reality - the residents of San Juan just celebrated the grand opening of its first SMWIA and SMACNA training center on June 22.

They are also celebrating a better quality of life. A benefit of the training center is that the unlimited potential for highly skilled and certified workers could be in the thousands, offering them all a quality education, pension and health plans and an overall better standard of living.

The SMWIA Local 41 training center will house equipment and facilities that will greatly aid in teaching apprentices the art and trade of service, TAB and sheet metal work. Included in the facility will be the newest, most state-of -the-art TAB lab that aims to be certified by the Testing, Adjusting and Balancing Bureau. "We are really excited about being a part of Local 41's success," stated Erik Emblem, TABB administrator and NEMI executive director. "When testing and balancing in a humid climate such as San Juan's, you want to be sure your technician and contractor are certified professionals. An improperly installed and maintained HVAC system can created high energy costs and dangerous health risks. We look forward to getting our colleagues in San Juan certified."

The training center was made possible through a grant from the National Energy Management Institute, the research arm and joint labor/management trust of the sheet metal industry, and through the leadership of Michael Sullivan. "It's important to have a vision. Mike Sullivan had the vision to bring opportunities to the workers of San Juan and we were ready to help him with that. We look forward to seeing Local 41 grow," concluded Emblem.