In the photo: Students at Memphis, Tenn.-based Moore Tech College of Technology in an HVACR equipment maintenance class. The school offers a sizable HVACR training curriculum.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted that sizable numbers of total heating/ventilating/air conditioning/refrigeration (HVACR) mechanics and installers will need to be recruited and hired in the future. In a job outlook report, BLS analysts say: “Employers continue to have difficulty finding qualified technicians to install, maintain, and repair complex new systems.”
Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI), a CareerBuilder company (EMSI), calculates that 12.4 percent of the total heating/ventilating/air conditioning/refrigeration (HVACR) workforce, or about 39,326 workers, are nearing retirement age (ages 55-64), and will soon need to be replaced.
Federal grants are available through the Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations program that can help women train for nontraditional jobs, including jobs in the HVACR industry. Other federal financial aid sources for technical training are listed here. Go here for information on training scholarships for tradespeople.
Scholarships and worker sponsorships are just one part of the solution to adding new techs to the HVACR workforce, says Mark Baker, President of Franchise for One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning. He says his firm has taken a comprehensive approach in its recruitment efforts.
“In addition to offering financial help, we want to develop well-trained professionals and give them the tools and training to actually do the job,” Baker says. “We offer up to $2,000 in financial assistance that can go toward tuition reimbursement; up to $1,500 in tools (critical for being able to actually work in the HVAC industry); and proprietary training in the “One Hour Way” before students even graduate.” Baker says that the resources that his firm provides give new trade school grads the tools and training they need to work in the HVAC industry.
The Clifford H. “Ted” Rees, Jr. Scholarship Foundation was established to assist with the recruitment and competency of future HVACR technicians. The organization awards scholarships to qualified students who are enrolled in an institutionally accredited school. NATE offers a non-profit certification program for technicians in the HVACR industry.
Through the alliance, NATE will provide Rees Scholarship recipients with a free Industry Competency Exam (ICE), which measures industry-agreed standards of basic competency for entry-level (one year or less) technicians. It is an important certification for technicians to gain in their ongoing career development. It is a graduation requirement at more than 300 schools nationwide for students to complete at least one of these exams. The collaboration between Rees and NATE will help students pay their tuition while also encouraging them to take the critical next step toward becoming a certified technician.
Go here to read more about how scholarships may help in recruiting HVACR techs.