May I Have the Envelope, Please?

June 19, 2000
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The deadline for nominations in The News’ first-ever “HVACR Instructor of the Year” contest passed last Friday, and the results are in. Instructors in this industry are appreciated by their students.

Over the two-month nomination period, more than 100 instructors across the country were recognized by one or more of their students for the work that they do in their classrooms. As the nomination dust settles, The News has received nominations from more than 500 students.

Reading through some of the nominations, it is apparent that these students have been inspired, challenged, taught, tested, and ultimately prepared for working within the hvacr industry by their instructors. As you read through the following excerpts, notice the pride and excitement these students have for their teachers and about our field.

  • “My instructor is a forthright, amiable instructor with an immense amount of knowledge, which he conveys to us in easy-to-comprehend examples and parallels. We are an accredited school of all women. Our instructor encourages us constantly and gives us the training we will need — empowering us to go forward with our lives in this field of vast opportunities — the field of air conditioning and refrigeration.”

  • “He demonstrates and effectively translates complex information from every manufacturer’s point of view into common terms, as well as organizing ideas for logical acceptance in the trade. He stimulates ideas for technicians, installers, and helpers to seek new ideas and approaches within the changing and more technical hvacr field. He also teaches technicians to be confident in their troubleshooting, diagnosis, and repair of any type of equipment.”

  • “A high-industry-standard hvac technician becomes a high-industry-standard technician factory. His ‘We not only tell you, we show you’ motto results in technicians with above-average theory knowledge and superb hands-on skills. Ninety-seven technicians have completed the EPA certification. Forty-seven techs obtained the MAC certification. Couple those statistics with a 95% graduation rate and you get a program that should be emulated by all others.”

  • “My instructor was always very helpful in all aspects of our class. All questions were answered completely and courteously. He even came out on his own time, on a Saturday, to help another student and myself to rewire a furnace. He always gives 110% to his students.”

What’s Next

We’re looking at how these nominated instructors recruit new students and work to secure funding for their programs. What are they doing to produce competent, interested technicians and what do those students have to say about them?

The News is now contacting the nominated instructors to request more detailed information about their programs and industry backgrounds.

Editors have already begun the daunting task of reading through the student-supplied information and will soon begin reading through the additional information supplied by the instructors.

This selection process will take the better part of the summer, with the winning instructor or instructors being announced in an issue of The News this fall.

Get the Word Out

On a bit of a side note, I received two separate e-mails that could have been written by the same person. They were from two people who wanted to know more about the hvacr field and what opportunities were available for them.

Both of these people were looking for a change in their careers. Both came to the conclusion that hvacr may be the industry for them.

One had her interest piqued when she noticed the high demand for service techs in the classified section of a local paper. The other had a revelation when a tech visited to service his air conditioner — he realized that he was mechanically inclined and liked working both inside and outside.

In both cases, it became clear that there is a lack of information and resources on the part of the hvacr industry. These people are excited about the possibility of careers in this field, but haven’t been able to find the information they are looking for locally. One asked me if this market is over-saturated with technicians! If only that were true.

I will be able to provide them with more information than they may even want. But I’m concerned about the people who have an interest and don’t find a place to get answers to their questions.

This industry has potential students who can’t find instructors and programs, instructors who can’t find enough students to keep their programs open, and even has programs that can’t find instructors. It’s time for the industry to come together to work on nationwide recruitment efforts and solutions to this problem.

If we all sit and lament the passing of the service tech abundance and do nothing, that’s what we’ll end up with: nothing.

I’d like to hear your ideas on how the industry can come together and work to change this situation. Let me know what you have been doing in your area.

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