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5/20/2014

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Sheet Metal Work Gets Boost In Efficiency Through New Technology


International Training Institute launches web-based e-reader, new website
 
FAIRFAX, Va.  – Technology is ever changing, and it is the job of the International Training Institute (ITI), the education and training arm of the unionized sheet metal and air conditioning industry, to make sure today’s apprentices and journey persons have all the tools to make their jobs as efficient as possible. In today’s world, that means making text books available online and via mobile devices as well as updating the organization’s website.
 
The ITI previously developed and released applications that allow apprentices to look at textbooks on their iPads as well as on Windows-based computers. After receiving feedback from members, a new web-based e-reader was put into development. With the launch of this new way to look at texts and class assignments, apprentices and journey persons enrolled in courses can see their books from any device with an Internet browser.
 
The option is good for anyone on the go, or for those who don’t have a computer at home or an iPad.
 
“We had a lot of members asking for a web-based e-reader,” said Larry Lawrence, ITI field representative and instructional development specialist. “If an enrolled apprentice or journeymen has a device that can get on the Internet, they can use it. We’ve essentially fulfilled the needs of the workers.”
 
Each method of viewing the material has its features, and workers can choose which fits them and their devices the best. On the Windows-based e-reader, students can print pages from texts, and on the iPad application, they can store books on the device from the application. On the web based e-reader, saving and printing functionality is limited to specific versions. A mobile version of the web based e-reader is available, allowing for easier viewing on a smaller screen.
 
The additional e-reader also helps ITI save money on printing – they don’t have to print new textbooks or fulfill large orders as often – and it puts the most updated copies in the students’ hands.
 
“There are many different ways for them to access the material,” Lawrence said.
 
In addition to the web-based e-reader, the general look and feel of the website will allow for easier navigation, said David Collins, software development manager for ITI.
 
“About a year ago, we started traveling around the county taking original photos to update nearly all the imagery on the site, so the members will be able to really see themselves in the new design,” Collins said. “The information on the site was good, and unless it was invalid or outdated, we kept it. It just needed to be refreshed.”
 
The new website, along with all the other technical advances in the industry, are meant to help members works efficiently and serve as a tool as important as a hammer, a pair of snips or the latest computer software.
 
More than 15,000 apprentices are registered at training facilities in the United States and Canada. The ITI is jointly sponsored by SMART, the International Association of Sheet Metal Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (formerly the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association) and the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA).
ITI supports apprenticeship and advanced career training for union workers in the sheet metal industry throughout the United States and Canada. Located in Fairfax, Va., ITI produces a standardized sheet metal curriculum supported by a wide variety of training materials free of charge to sheet metal apprentices and journeymen.
 
For more information about ITI, visit www.sheetmetal-iti.org or call 703-739-7200.

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