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Jim Norris, chairman and ceo of EAI, pointed out some alarming statistics about the hvacr industry that prompted EAI to seek ways to attract new workers:
- Seventy percent of the journeymen in one particular city were over the age of 40. Out of this number, 15% were over 65.
- According to the U.S. Department of Labor, by 2006 there will be a need for more than 100,000 hvacr technicians.
- In a recent reader survey from The News, subscribers were asked to name “the single biggest problem you face in 2000.” The number-one answer was, “finding qualified people.”
“Any contracting company could significantly increase its revenues and its profits if it could find enough new people to perform the work that is currently available in the marketplace,” Norris said.
“There has been too much lip service paid to attracting new people to our industries, and too little action to address the issue.”
The Game PlanAt an April meeting, EAF trustees set out a number of ways to attract, educate, and develop all levels of workers in hvacr contracting, including the following:
- Elevate the sense of pride associated with working in the contracting industries by promoting the rewards of choosing this career path.
- Attract highly qualified and motivated people to seek career hvacr opportunities.
- Promote career opportunities to teachers and vocational counselors.
- Improve the level of educational opportunities for new and current employees.
- Share skills with the needy in communities.
- Provide opportunities for EAI owners and employees to make positive contributions to the industry.
- Raise the awareness of the general public to contributions made by the hvacr industry for their safety, health, and comfort.
FundraisingEAI has pledged $100,000 to cover the administrative expenses of EAF for the first year. The goal is to award approximately 100 scholarships in 2001.
“We are working hard the rest of this year at fundraising to see where we’re at,” said Norris. “We want to start as early as we can in 2001 to award scholarships.”
With the average expense of tuition and books equaling $2,000 per student, EAF is seeking to raise $200,000. The foundation is in the process of outlining several campaigns to meet this goal.
“Our intent is to solicit names of students from our EAI members and from talking with other people, such as administrators from Ferris State University,” said Norris. “Non-EAI members can get involved in the process, too.
“The contracting industry cannot survive without a steady influx of good, qualified people,” he concluded.
For more information on EAF, contact Vicki Yorio at 513-412-8896.