SMART Local 2 in Kansas City participated in a new recruitment event in summer 2022. Earlier in the year, Business Manager Greg Chastain approached the Local 2 Women’s Committee to discuss how the local could reach a more diverse group when recruiting. The Women’s Committee immediately thought of Pride month.
Every June, Kansas City hosts a LGBTQ+ Pride parade and celebration that draws thousands of people — ideal for reaching every gender, age group and demographic. Local 2 supported the Women’s Committee’s suggestion by reserving two booths at the event.
When Pride month arrived, the Women’s Committee set up monitors with slideshows showing various aspects of the sheet metal trade and highlighting beautiful projects that have been made a staple of the city skyline. The booth also showcased multiple duct fittings and school projects, and the Women’s Committee passed out recruitment materials to visitors, including pamphlets about apprenticeships and benefits. The number one attraction at the booth was the virtual welder: Visitors of all age groups and experience levels were able to show their welding abilities.
All told, the Women’s Committee and Local 2 volunteers handed out swag and union information to more than 2,500 people. Several teachers and school counselors visited the booth, where they voiced that they would like to share information about apprenticeship programs and trades with their students to complement information about the college path.
Since June, Local 2 has seen an uptick in applications stemming from this event, and many applicants have already passed their tests and are awaiting placement. In other words, the LGBTQ+ Pride booths were a massive success.