We’ve heard of turning in unwanted guns for cash or food.

Now there’s “Guns for Opportunity” –

This is no government program.

It’s the brainchild of an area union – Boilermakers Local 154.

The union plans to hold collection events around Allegheny County.

Anyone who surrenders a gun gets a token.

Take the token to their offices on Banksville Road –

And you can sign up for their welding program – for free.

Business manager Raymond Ventrone says it will require commitment –

And maybe a lifestyle change for some folks.

Training takes six months to a year.

Trainees need to be drug free –

But there’s a substance abuse program for anyone with a drug or alcohol problem.

Will those who become certified welders be able to get work?

Yes.

Ventrone says there are more jobs than his local has welders.

He and others in Boilermakers Local 154 are banking on the belief –

That there are people in this area –

Ready to trade guns and street violence –

For a marketable skill –

And are willing to work at it.

They say it’s more than getting guns off the streets –

It’s about giving people a solid chance at a better life.

It’s a brilliant idea –

And kudos to Boilermakers Local 154 –

For creating a plan to help the entire community.