Since his retirement as the Sheet Metal Workers Local 33 Training Coordinator and Instructor, John Nesta has not been able to stay away from teaching.
When he was leaving his position with Local 33, Nesta recalled one tradesmen who specifically came back to say thank you for giving him the skills to let him take care of his family. Nesta, who spent 26 of his 36 years with Local 33 in some training capacity, was touched by this gesture and knew that he was not finished with teaching.
The next step in Nesta’s career turned out to be public education, where he is now the Curriculum Construction Specialist Educator at the new Max S. Hayes Career and Technical High School in Cleveland.
Nesta and his instructional staff are tasked with introducing the Cleveland students to the construction trades. One of his biggest goals in this new position is to make sure students at Max Hayes have the same opportunity to succeed in the construction trades as students who live in the suburbs.
While the staff does not face any of the building-related problems of the old Max Hayes, there are certainly a few obstacles for the instructors to overcome. For Nesta, one of his biggest challenges is to prepare the students to understand what it means to be a grown-up and be responsible for their actions. In particular, he is already stressing the importance of needing to be on the jobsite Monday through Friday, well before 7 a.m. This message is a rude awakening to some students when they learn they cannot just show up whenever they feel like it.
“Attitude and attendance are the two biggest factors for apprentices when starting out,” said Nesta.
Students in advanced classes will have the opportunity to go to a JATC and sit in on an apprenticeship class and potentially receive some hands-on training at the training center, which will be more intense than the instruction they normally receive at Max Hayes.
While details still need to be worked out, Nesta said several trade instructors, including one from cement and masonry and another in carpentry, might even come to the high school and help supplement instruction by the teachers.
For the former Sheet Metal Training Coordinator, the opportunity to work at the new career and technical high school helps him come full-circle. As a sheet metal apprentice, he spent five years in the old Max Hayes, where he took all his apprenticeship courses. Now, more than 30 years later, he is returning home, but in a new building, to help ensure a bright future for the Cleveland Building Trades.