We see some progress being made related to HVACR-related training and career development. Thanks to all who have helped raise awareness of the dearth of new candidates to meet the technician need, today and in the very near future, and all who are getting in the game.
The EGIA Foundation announced on August 1 the first-ever class of recipients for its scholarship program. Twenty students will each receive $2500, to be used for specialized education and training in 2018-2019 at an accredited or otherwise approved community college, university, or vocational or technical school. During its first year, the EGIA Foundation Scholarship Program reached over 1,000 interested student applicants from 39 states.
The EGIA Foundation is devoted to building the industry workforce through initiatives that include public outreach, media campaigns, scholarships, and more.
“The HVAC industry needs more young adults and professionals entering the workforce considering that the industry is expected to grow and a large portion of the current workforce is planning retire,” said Bruce Matulich, EGIA Foundation Chairman and CEO. “The EGIA Foundation Scholarship Program is our way of bringing visibility to the industry and building awareness and interest with those who may not have otherwise considered a career in HVAC.”
In addition to the financial support it provides, the EGIA Foundation Scholarship Program was created to help increase the number of qualified workers entering an HVAC-related field by expanding awareness of the well-paying careers with high satisfaction rates that exist within it. Many have agreed that awareness has been a huge obstacle to attracting new HVACR students. With the removal of “shop” classes from high schools, HVACR as a career has been a mystery to most students, and parents and high school career advisors tend to be focused on college as the best career option.
The EGIA Foundation will award another class of students who are pursuing an education in HVAC with its 2019 Scholarship Program. Applications will be accepted starting in the fall of 2018, with awards counting toward the 2019-20 academic year. As the EGIA Foundation grows, the Scholarship Program will expand to include awards in other industry vocations, including solar PV, plumbing, home performance, and more. School administrators, educators, and contractors interested in the scholarship can visit www.EGIAFoundation.org.
You have probably seen the endless parade of special “days” on Twitter: donut day, hotdog day, pizza day, whatever. Would someone please organize a nationwide, “Bring Your Parent Who Works in HVACR to School” day, to help students of all ages see what comfort technology and technician work is all about? As a representative of the HVAC industry's leading contractor publication I will help in any way I can.
Gordy Noe, president of Pioneer Heating & Air Conditioning, Knoxville, Tenn., continues to have success with his “Ride and Decide” program, which gives high school students the opportunity to work in the trade before graduation. He has also promoted the program in front of government and state officials.
I recently visited Bosch Thermotechnology’s new product development facility in Watertown, Mass. During the tour, we were told of Bosch’s outreach to grade school kids, to
describe what is possible with today’s heating and cooling systems.
On July 31, President Trump reauthorized the Perkins Act through the passage and signing of the “Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act.” This will keep grants in place for CTE education.
Heating, Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) applauded the Act. Sources say HARDI members have supported this specific bill for the past two years and at the last two HARDI Congressional “Fly-ins,” where they meet with representatives to help enact change favorable to the industry. It is hoped the Act will result in much more HVACR career awareness and career and business development.
More needs to be done, and it's best that it be accomplished without too much government intervention, but this progress is encouraging.