To address the shortage of trade skill workers in the area, John Wood Community College (JWCC) in Illinois has added a new Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) program that they hope will help meet that need.
The HVAC and Refrigeration Service Technician certificate program was recently approved by the Illinois Community College Board and will begin being available to JWCC students in the fall 2019 semester. The one-year program will provide workers with maintenance skills that are useful in hospitals, factories and the heating & air industry, according to NBC-affiliate WGEM.
John Wood officials is partnering with an advisory council consisting of eight Tri-State HVAC companies in order to expand the program and offer internship opportunities to students.
“Throughout this program there’s opportunity for internships they’ll be working with, so they have kinda of path into employment straight out of school,” said CTHE Strategic Programs director Dave Hetzler.
Many skilled trade workers are retiring, said David Arnes, owner of Aire Serve Heating & Air Conditioning in Quincy, adding that he hopes the new JWCC program can help resolve the need in this field.
“It does create a shortage in the industries and in the trades in general and it’s having an effect on our business and all other local businesses it’s really a great service that John Wood has stepped up to take over,” Arnes said.
HVAC technicians in the states of Missouri, Iowa and Illinois can earn salaries of $42,000 to $67,000 on average per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The HVAC certificate includes completing two internships and 11 courses, five of which were newly created with the advisory council. In addition, first semester and capstone HVAC internship opportunities were created.
Businesses that worked on the HVAC advisory council include Keck Heating and Air Conditioning, T. F. Ehrhart Company, Blessing Hospital. Air Specialists Heating and Air Conditioning, Aire Serv of Quincy and Klinger & Associates.
The next step in the development of the HVAC program is eligibility for federal financial aid, something that’s currently being evaluated and is tentatively scheduled to be approved in March.