DAYTON (WDTN) – A Dayton business opened its doors to some potential future employees on Thursday.

Sheet Metal Workers Local No. 24 welcomed 11th grade students from Upper Valley Career Center, allowing them to get a first-hand look at the metal work industry.

It was part of apprenticeship week, which began last year to give businesses, students and workers a chance to learn about the real-world advantages of an alternative form of higher education.

“They’ve got a great opportunity in front of them,” said Local No. 24 training director Eugene Frazier. “Take advantage of it, that’s the key.”

More than 14,000 sheet metal apprentices are registered at over 150 union sheet metal training facilities in the United States and Canada.

Frazier says people who participate in sheet metal apprenticeships often graduate debt-free with a career and a salary that can be above people who graduated from colleges and universities.

“To understand the workforce is in demand, we’re looking and it’s up to them to take the next step,” Frazier said.

The welding students worked with mentors on a pencil box project that they got to take home.