Whittier Tech Plumbing and Heating Students Connect with Experts Through Community Partnerships

Tuesday January 18, 2022

HAVERHILL – Whittier Tech Plumbing and Heating students in Grades 10, 11 and 12 have learned from industry experts both at school and in the field during the last two months.

Uponor Vendor Representative Walter Kelly, and AO Smith and WardFlex Representative Grant Miller visited the shop to demonstrate and train students how to use Uponor products, as well as the Milwaukee expander tool. Kelly also explained the manufacturing and history of Uponor Pex tubing, which can be used in potable water and hydronic heating applications as an alternative to traditional means of 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 how to install WardFlex Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing, which is a flexible gas line that is used as an alternative to rigid steel pipe in delivery installations.

“The representatives were so nice and knowledgeable. I asked a question right away and answered correctly and got the first hat,” said Ryan Frasca, senior from Haverhill.

“Vendor presentations and certifications are so valuable to our students as they head out into the workforce,” said Teacher Eli Roy. “The students can list these vendors on their resumes and are now certified to use these products on job sites.”

Additionally, two groups of students attended a field trip recently to the Landmark Center in Boston, which is under renovation by Suffolk Construction. Once renovations are completed, the 16-story project will serve as a research laboratory. This was the first time many students visited a commercial site with large-scale boilers, chemical drains, commercial bathrooms, and high-pressure gas lines.

On-site Project Supervisor Jason Nadeau walked students through 2D and 3D architectural computer renderings of the finished site.

“I liked seeing all of the employees working on the job. The safety equipment was pretty cool, and seeing the rendering up close was some Tony Stark stuff,” said Matt Venturi, a sophomore from Haverhill.

While on the field trip, students had the opportunity to connect with representatives of the

Plumbers & Gasfitters UA Local 12, who spoke about applying to the union, which is the largest in the state. After the field trip, Local 12 Representative James Vaughn met with the students at the school to further review the application process. Each year, a number of students apply to the union with the help of instructors, community connections, alumni, and advisory board groups.

“Our goal is to prepare students for career placement, and it is important for students to build their network and learn from people in their desired career paths,” Superintendent Maureen Lynch said. “Becoming a Massachusetts Licensed Plumber takes years of experience and we are doing our part to connect our students with the right people in order to ensure a solid and knowledgeable workforce.”

Additionally, Viega Representative Jacob Demars will meet with the students in the coming months to teach students about the Viega MegaPress, which is a widely accepted system for pressing steel and hydronic solutions. Students will have the opportunity to press steel and receive certification cards.

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