It takes three minutes for Dave Jones to make a believer of potential students for the Painters and Allied Trades Veterans Program. Jones teaches the class at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and at South Seattle Community College.
Jones recruits at the Service Member for Life Transition Assistance Program on Lewis Main every Monday as one of several recruiters of programs for transitioning military service members, spouses and veterans.
The advantage of his program is 100 percent job placement for those who complete the one-month course, Jones said.
“They get a union job with full benefits and retirement — you can’t do much better,” Jones said.
Those who finish the course receive credit for six months of training in that one month. That’s the first six months of the two years and six months it takes to earn a journeyman’s card.
The classes are free — paid for by the the Union of Painters and Allied Trades — for service members 180 days prior to or after transitioning out of the military, as well as for military spouses. Exceptions also can be made for veterans who have been out of the military longer than 180 days on a case-by-case basis, Jones said.
Classes are scheduled twice a year when enough students sign up. The current class of seven students began Feb. 26, and the next class begins in July.
So, what do attendees learn when they sign up for the four days a week, four week course? A lot of information on tools, work and safety.
On March 1, students spent time in a show and tell session, describing tools and their uses.
“This is a conventional paint sprayer and this is the cheater valve, to adjust the volume of the spray,” said Spc. Shelden Alapeahi, 2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division Artillery, after Jones placed the implement in front of Alapeahi.
Alapeahi is originally from Hawaii and joined the Army about three years ago. He said he’s enjoying the painter’s union class.
“It’s something new and looks like a good career,” he said.
Ivory Marshall, a military spouse in the class, said he’s hoping to find a good-paying job that will help support his family, and the class seems to be a step in that direction.
Marshall, whose wife is Sgt. Kashiara Marshall, 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, started his own pressure washing company previously, but wasn’t able to get enough business to stay afloat.
“I really have no strong work history, but Dave (Jones) the instructor is very serious about helping me work through the program,” Marshall said.
During the class, Marshall described titles and uses for a handful of paint brushes Jones handed him.
“This is a natural bristle, chip brush,” he said, as he held the larger of the brushes. “It’s for oil-based paint.”
“And, this is a synthetic brush for latex paint,” he said of a smaller brush.
Specialist Jake Holmes, 8th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, held a full-face mask and turned it over several times, weighing his thoughts before naming and describing the use for that item.
“It’s a full mask with a respirator,” he said.
Next, Jones segued into the importance of safety and changing filters or smaller nose and mouth masks on a regular basis, even if told by a supervisor that the masks last longer than a few hours or a day.
“If you are in moderate fumes, it could probably last you all day; but, when you can taste or smell fumes, it’s time to change the mask or filter,” he said. “The exposure level is going to be up there, and it’s important.”
Safety is one of the most important segments of Jones’ classes.
“We inundate (the students) with safety,” he said.
After two weeks at McChord Field Education Center and two weeks at SSCC, students complete the course and can move on to a job in commercial painting, wall covering, drywall finishing, floor covering installation or dozens of other related crafts.
“I’m pretty passionate about teaching my students,” said Jones, who previously served 24 years as a Navy Seabee. “This class offers transitioning service members a way to be in control of their own destiny. Without a direction to go, (the service members) would likely take a low paying job. I’m trying to help them get beyond that.”
To learn more about the Painters and Allied Trades Veterans Program, visitPAT-VP.org.