Students in the Plumbing and Heating program at Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School learn new tools and modern approaches from industry experts.
Superintendent Maureen Lynch said the students in Years 10, 11 and 12 had received a wealth of knowledge in both school and practice over the past two months.
“Our goal is to prepare students for professional practice, and it’s important for students to network and learn from people in their desired career path,” said Lynch. “Becoming a licensed plumber in Massachusetts takes years of experience, and we do our part to match our students with the right people to ensure a solid and knowledgeable workforce,” she explained.
On November 30th and December 20th, Uponor dealer representative Walter Kelly, AO Smith and WardFlex representative Grant Miller visited the store. There, Kelly demonstrated and trained students on the use of Uponor products as well as the Milwaukee expander tool. Kelly also explained the manufacture and history of Uponor Pex pipe, which can be used in potable water and hot water heating applications as an alternative to traditional piping.
Miller discussed electrical components and tankless water heaters and trained students to use AO Smith ATI on-demand water heaters. Miller also discussed and trained students on installing WardFlex Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing, a flexible gas line used as an alternative to rigid steel tubing in utility installations.
The vendors’ presentations were followed by a question-and-answer session. Students received merchandise including Uponor hats and pens, as well as certification cards for using the discussed products.
“The representatives were so nice and knowledgeable. I was immediately asked a question and got the correct answer and got the first hat,” said Ryan Frasca, a senior from Haverhill.
“Vendor presentations and certifications are so valuable to our students as they enter the workforce,” said teacher Eli Roy. “Students can list these suppliers on their resumes and are now certified to use these products on construction sites.”
Two other groups of students took a field trip to Boston’s Landmark Center on December 9 and 16, which is currently being renovated by Suffolk Construction. Once the renovations are complete, the 16-story project will serve as a research laboratory. This was the first time many students had visited a commercial site with large boilers, chemical drains, commercial bathrooms, and high-pressure gas lines.
Onsite Project Manager Jason Nadeau guided the students through 2D and 3D architectural computer renderings of the completed site.
“I loved seeing all the employees at work. The safety gear was pretty cool, and seeing the render up close was a bit Tony Stark stuff,” said Matt Venturi, a Haverhill sophomore.
During the field trip, the students had the opportunity to connect with representatives from Plumbers & Gasfitters UA Local 12, who discussed applying to the state’s largest union. After the field trip, Local 12 representative James Vaughn met with the students at the school to further discuss the application process. Each year a number of students apply to the union with the help of educators, community liaisons, alumni and advisory groups.
Additionally, Viega representative Jacob Demars will be meeting with the students over the coming months to educate the students about the Viega MegaPress which is a widely accepted system for pressing steel and hydronic solutions.