Howard Weiss, marketing director for HVAC Excellence — a not-for-profit organization whose mission it is to improve the technical competency of the HVACR industry — reported recently that the title of Certified Master HVACR Educator (CMHE) has been conferred upon 11 more HVACR instructors. The recognition is given to those instructors who have passed HVAC Excellence's specialized, educator credentialing exams with grades of 80% and higher in these categories: electrical, air conditioning, light commercial air conditioning, light commercial refrigeration, electric heat and either gas heat, oil heat or heat pumps. Additionally, to earn the title of CMHE, an instructor must pass a "Capstone" exam, which covers technical education methodologies, principles, and practices, which attest to their pedagogical skills. (That means they're really good teachers!)
"It's a great accomplishment when someone can demonstrate their level of expertise in a given area. It's even more impressive when a person can pass seven different disciplines and earn the title of CMHE," Weiss said, in a post on LinkedIn's HVACR Educators discussion site.
The newly designated Certified Master HVACR Educators are:
- Donald Crawshaw, Pikes Peak Community College, Colorado Springs, CO
- Terry Tobinson, Lincoln College of Technology, Grand Prairie, TX
- Jack Hossink, Central Carolina Technical College, Sumter, SC
- Luther Knose, United Association, Bellefonte, PA
- Jorge Tovar, Lincoln College of Technology, Grand Prairie, TX
- Jim Wathen, Owensboro Technical College, Owensboro, KY
- Stephen White, Lincoln College of Technology, Grand Prairie, TX
- Bruce Pritchard, Charter College, Pasco, WA
- Frank Kendall, Lincoln College of Technology, Grand Prairie, TX
- Jerry Gates, Emily Griffith Opportunity School, Denver, CO
- Richard Ehrhardt, Lincoln College of Technology, Grand Prairie, TX.
This is impressive, and Weiss is so correct: any of you who has become something of a master of heating and air conditioning can appreciate the commitment that's required to master up to six subjects, and be able to teach others. If you haven't ever called that one HVACR trainer who helped you through the facts and figures of system troubleshooting and service, give them a call to say thanks.
NOW WHAT ABOUT YOUR local efforts to recruit new students into this industry? Having 11 more CMHEs is great, provided that they have a classroom of students over the next few years and beyond. HVACR contractors, whether in allegiance with their associations or solo, must do a better job of letting the youth of America know about career opportunities in HVACR.
According to Weiss, estimates show that 2/3 of the technicians who will be at work in the HVACR industry in the next decade will be people not in the industry today. "With so much opportunity available, why are we having so much trouble recruiting people into the industry?" he asks. He says, as have others, that high school guidance counselors want all of their students to make it into college. In response, industry spokesperson must visit more schools to demonstrate the career opportunities in the HVACR industry. Not everyone is going to attend college, and they will be wanting to walk a different career path.
Among those helping grow the ranks is Tom Sherman, president of Lake Mechanical Contractors, Eustis, FL. Lake has a long history of success, and some of Sherman's efforts are guaranteeing its future.
"Our company is based in Florida, a state that lost 250,000 skilled construction workers, due to the recent recession," Sherman says. "No matter where you work in the U.S., without a forward-looking recruitment strategy in place, you will not be able to find or retain skilled workers." Read about Sherman's initiatives at bit.ly/Shermanonrecruiting.
Please do all you can to spread the word on careers in HVACR. Summer's approaching, but maybe you can team up with other contractors and make it to a few schools in your area. Tell them about what you do to keep that school cool in summer, warm in winter, and how beneficial (and good paying) it can be. Some schools do have career days, which could be another inroad.
Maybe part of our problem is that we keep calling this an "industry" . . .
WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO RECRUIT NEW PEOPLE INTO HVACR? Let me know below when you "got a minute."