The Sheet Metal Apprenticeship Training Center in Fairfield has undergone an $11 million expansion and will be opening Wednesday.

The training center, at 4350 Central Place, has been operation for a couple of years, and is one of three academies in the Bay Area to train apprentices in HVAC services and repair, sheet metal fabrication and installation, architectural, welding, and testing and balancing. The other two are in San Jose, and San Leandro.

Altogether the three centers can accommodate more than 850 apprentices. The 43,000-square-foot Fairfield location can hold about 300.

The state-of-the art center added three additional training labs, classrooms and increased capabilities for testing and balancing, and welding using cutting-edge instructional aids.

The training center will provide apprentices the opportunity to gain valuable skills while engaging with employers, gain practical work experience, refine their technical skills in HVAC and sheet metal fabrication for the diverse array of highly skilled occupations available in the state.

The project is a joint effort between Sheet Metal Workers’ Local 104 and the Bay Area Sheet Metal Air Conditioning Contractors National Association (SMACNA).

“It’s a perfect example of a working relationship between labor and management,” said Paul Irwin, president and owner of Bell Products, in Napa, and Bay Area vice president of SMACNA.

Cynthia Sweeney covers health care, hospitality, residential real estate, education, employment and business insurance. Reach her at or call 707-521-4259.

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