by Jim Williams

ValsparTHE GOOD NEWS: Painting pros are in demand. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of painters to grow 7% through 2024, with expectations for overall job prospects and opportunities for industrial painters and coaters to continue to be excellent in coming years.

THE BAD NEWS: Many pros are missing out on opportunities to differentiate themselves in a crowded industry marketplace through training and resources offered by some of the country’s top manufacturers.

Here’s a Look at What Six Manufacturers Offer:


Training Opportunities: Valspar offers several options for the pro. Through Valspar-

PRO SOLUTIONS, the company offers several continuing education classes that can range from color theory and the basics of painting, to more advanced problem-solving classes. ValsparPRO SOLUTIONS also conducts Productivity Assessment with Valspar customers, training to make pros, property managers, builders or crews more productive on site.

“Investing in training for our team is very important,” said Steve Wiezorek, Valspar director of pro product marketing. “Valspar has a national training team and training facility available for our employees, pros and our retail partners. This directly translates to our team being confident in partnering with our pros.”

Training is arranged through Valspar retailers and sales reps to meet pros’ training needs; there is no set schedule and classes are free. Contact a Valspar sales rep or call 877-VALSPAR.


Training Opportunities: The PPG Paints brand initially developed its free training program called Pro Partner for its residential repaint customers, which not only offered training on product and application techniques, but also provided ways to make color selection easier, as well as information on other tools available that help to support business owners. The program has since expanded to include customer segments outside of residential repainters. PPG’s Pro Partner training for the commercial contractor primarily focuses on products and application techniques. Pro Partner training for the livable spaces segment— multifamily, student housing, senior living, and government housing—is geared toward maintenance supervisors and maintenance personnel, and provides training on common issues that they may frequently face.

“PPG is committed to providing the highest-quality educational resources to professionals,” said Terri Guenthenspberger, PPG’s senior segment marketing manager. “Their success is our success, and PPG equips professionals with the right training, events and classes to further their opportunities and knowledge.”

Pro Partner training programs are free, offered in various regions by city or by a group of cities, and take place periodically throughout the year. Contact a PPG sales rep or reach out to store personnel at a PPG Paints retailer.


Training Opportunities: Sashco offers a Zero Failures Seminar on log finishing and maintenance every spring. Held in its Brighton, CO facility, the intensive two-day seminar focuses on the science of log- and wood-home finishing, maintenance and restoration. Attendees perform hands-on work on their own log wall, practicing the principles they learn during classroom time. Subjects covered include: media blasting, the pros and cons of different stain types, proper sealant application, and more.

“The finishing and maintenance of log homes is a highly specialized craft fraught with many opportunities for costly mistakes,” said Nick Burch, Sashco’s brand manager. “Educating contractors on a variety of finishing techniques is critical to achieving our shared goal of providing log-home owners with the longest-lasting stains and sealants for their home. Over the course of 15 years, more than 700 contractors and retailers have graduated from the Zero Failures Seminar. Our goal is to equip attendees with the knowledge they need to go out into the field and make educated decisions at each job. Painters, in particular, have come away with the knowledge they need to expand their business into the log-home-finishing market.”

Sachco offers the course two or three times each spring. There is a $700 fee for contractors, which includes all classroom materials, take-home reference manual, transportation between the host hotel, and meals. For more information, call 800-767-5656 or visit

Benjamin Moore

Training Opportunities: Benjamin Moore offers individuals both product and application training by its sales reps, as well as hosting larger events that include true business training such as how to increase your digital presence and broaden your marketing reach.

“We recognize the direct connection that a professional’s success has on our own so, to that end, we see education to be a critical focus for us going forward,” said Craig Bunting, director of national account sales and end-user engagement. “Benjamin Moore sells more paint to contractors than to any other customer segment by a very large margin, so the professional is, without question, our priority. We continue to look for new and innovative ways help propel the professionals’ businesses forward—whether that be through our best-in-class product portfolio or training that helps make them become even more successful than they already are.”

Training sessions vary in each market and are free to pros. Contact your local Benjamin Moore sales rep for upcoming opportunities in your area.


Training Opportunities: Sherwin-Williams offers three different kinds of training. The first is product-focused, which offers training on Sherwin-Williams’ new and existing products and the ways to achieve the best results from them. Additionally, Sherwin-Williams has relationships with national equipment suppliers like Graco, Titan, 3M, Purdy and Werner to offer local training on their unique product lines. The second type of training helps pros improve their business model. Sherwin-Williams is a National Champion sponsor of PDCA, who it has partnered with to bring industry expert speakers to the markets it serves. Topics include estimating for profit, how to build a team culture, and recruiting and retaining talent. The third type of training is an RRP refresher certification course. Sherwin-Williams has partnered with a leading EPA-certified training provider to bring RRP refresher training to many local markets around the US. These training classes have certified more than 34,000 contractors since 2010.

“As the leading paint supplier to pros across the country, we take our commitment to educating pros very seriously,” said Jeff Winter, VP of residential marketing for Sherwin-Williams. “We use the relationships at our local stores to understand the unique training needs of the pros in that market, and then we fill those needs with the appropriate training resources. Our long-time National Champion partnership with the PDCA is another illustration of the commitment Sherwin-Williams has to educating pros. We not only provide training ourselves, but we provide support to organizations like the PDCA that are in the business to train and educate.”

All Sherwin-Williams’ training is coordinated by its district leadership teams and occurs in local markets, offering hundreds of training sessions each year for its customers across the country. Each Sherwin-Williams market will generally offer several product-focused training sessions each year at no cost to pros. Contact a Sherwin-Williams sales rep at one of its retail stores via

ShurTech Brands

Training Opportunities: ShurTech Brands regularly offers Crew Tape education sessions, which provide an overview of different tape technologies and their applications. They also offer job-site consultation to assist crew, crew leaders and project managers with tape-application decisions.

“We are very committed to educating and serving this key segment,” said Diane Walsh, director of market development. “These contractors work hard to deliver professional results to their customers and we want to make their jobs easier, and better in the process. We strive to look for new ways to educate and communicate with pros on not only our products, but best practices for the entire painting industry. One example of our commitment to this segment is that we are currently updating the web site to include a contractor page so that they can come and get product details that are relevant to their needs and will also help their businesses be more efficient.”

One or two free education sessions are scheduled per month or by contractors’ needs. Contact ShurTech at 800-321-0253.



Looking for a specific training course or to learn the latest industry best practices from your home or office? The Master Painters Institute, Inc. (MPI) offers professional online training and accreditation courses for a nominal fee. Three levels of training are available, with all course material and exams online.

LEVEL 1—Essentials of Paint & Paint Technology provides the basic theoretical knowledge of paints and coatings required for the industry. This includes chemistry, manufacturing, principles of color, application methods, safety, specifications, environmental regulations and compliance practices. Upon successful completion of the course, participants earn the accreditation of ARCHITECTURAL COATING TECHNOLOGIST.

LEVEL 2—Coatings Specialist Training is a two-part training program that focuses on mastering the substrates encountered in architectural/commercial painting, and addresses both new construction and repaint projects. Best practices for the 25 most common substrates, surface evaluation and preparation, quality assurance and inspection practices are just some of the topics covered. Upon successful completion of the program, participants earn the following accreditations:



LEVEL 3—The third inspection level is an advanced course based on the inspection and quality aspects of the paint and coatings industry. Included is information on how to write detailed paint specifications for both new construction and maintenance projects, protocols for inspection, documenting job quality and specification adherence, and problem identification. Upon successful completion of this course, participants earn the accreditation of PAINT QUALITY ASSURANCE and have the chance to apply for the Professional Education and Knowledge Assessment to obtain the accreditation of MASTER, PAINT QUALITY ASSURANCE and the designation of MPI CERTIFIED ARCHITECTURAL COATINGS INSPECTOR.

For more information, visit

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