Editors Blog

Skaer-Tactics: He is Soon Out in the Real World

May 5, 2008
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Where does the time go?

It seems like just yesterday I presented my boss with a story idea: Why not follow an HVACR student on his way to an associate’s degree? Is it tough? What are some of the obstacles, if any? What goes on in the head of a student pursuing HVACR as a career?

Getting the OK from Mr. Murphy, I contacted the reputable local trade school in St. Louis, Ranken Technical College. I told officials of my intent to follow a student through classes and provide periodic reports in The NEWS. The powers-that-be selected Brad Bartz for me to shadow.

I must say, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

Maybe you have read some of my reports concerning Bartz. Just in case you have not, Bartz is a 25-year-old resident of Maryville, Ill. He lives with his mother Irene and his stepfather Joseph Mullenschlader. His father, Jerry Bartz, lives near San Francisco. For the past two years, the energetic youth has been attending classes while working full-time at the deli department of a grocery store.

May 8 it all ends. Bartz is to get his diploma and move on to the real world. It’s been a long time coming for Bartz, who before earning his high school cap and gown, plunged into the labor force full-time and lived on his own.

“I was still living paycheck to paycheck, even though I was making [$14 an hour]. My rent was pretty high for where I was at,” he told me.

One reason he opted to go to Ranken: “Because my Mom always wanted me to go to college…for something. Like nowadays, you have to have a college degree.”

Even though Bartz had not officially landed full-time employment with a local contractor as of this writing, I expect him to land one soon – maybe even before May 8. He has a lot going for him and will work hard for his boss.

“I want to be a tech,” Bartz told me. “That’s what I want to do. Further down the line, I might change it to something else, but as of right now, that is what I want to do.”

Congratulations, Brad. You made it. Keep in touch.

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