A student at Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) examines gauges. MATC is one of the six educational institutions currently benefiting from Johnson Controls’ CareerConnect program.

In December of 2005, Johnson Controls acquired York International Corp., a global supplier of HVACR equipment and services. According to company officials, the combined business nearly doubled the size of Johnson Controls’ building efficiency business, which it said now serves customers in 125 countries from more than 700 locations.

But there is a “dark” side to all of this.

While Johnson Controls may have more than 5,000 technicians on staff today, it needs to hire another 1,000 nationwide each year. Unfortunately, and as Johnson Controls is well aware of, while the pool of these skilled workers diminishes, the need for them continues to grow. The company realized it needed to take action that would have to go beyond recruitment.

End result: CareerConnect.

Johnson Controls said it developed CareerConnect to begin addressing its immediate needs and help change the industry landscape over time. The CareerConnect program is designed to attract and groom the next generation of building mechanics and HVAC technicians.


Through the program, Johnson Controls branch offices around the country work with select educational institutions in their regions that offer diploma and associate degree programs in HVAC technology. Johnson Controls donates resources designed to help enhance students’ learning environments, encourage faculty development, raise community awareness, and improve recruiting practices.

Because each school has different needs, Johnson Controls created a “build-your-own-program” approach for educational institutions that wanted to participate. Once the educational institution meets the initial program criteria, together the school and the local Johnson Controls branch select from a menu of deliverables. The company’s contributions may include any combination of lab equipment, curriculum support, expert speakers, and other support services.

Schools are evaluated for inclusion into CareerConnect based on school and program demographics, including diversity statistics, curriculum and ability to modify it, geographic areas served, enrollments, placement statistics, strategies, and the relationship with Johnson Controls.

The multiyear partnership is designed to provide Johnson Controls with early access to the best up-and-coming skilled technicians, helping to accommodate its hiring needs. Meanwhile, the partnering school benefits from access to new learning tools, industry experts, and new technology, all designed to help increase enrollment and improve employability of graduates.

“Perhaps the biggest winner of the CareerConnect program is the student,” said Shannon Lippold, program manager for CareerConnect. “With access to tools, technology, internship experiences, scholarships, and industry experts, students who graduate from the program will be among the best candidates the industry has to offer in that region.

“Graduates will not necessarily go to work for Johnson Controls, but those who want the option are in a good position to be considered early for open positions nationwide with the world’s largest HVAC provider.”

Students at MATC are benefiting from Johnson Controls’ program. The school received $50,000 for new equipment and materials plus instructor training.


To date, Johnson Controls has worked with six educational institutions nationwide: Greenville Tech (Greenville, S.C.), Dunwoody College of Technology (Minneapolis, Minn.), Milwaukee Area Technical College (Milwaukee, Wis.), GateWay Community College (Phoenix, Ariz.), City Colleges of Chicago (Chicago, Ill.), and Oklahoma State University-Okmulgee (Okmulgee, Okla.). By the end of this year, the company hopes to add several more to the list.

With the first school collaboration initiated in 2004, the first graduating class of a full CareerConnect experience is just on the horizon. Over the past two years, about 44 students from the participating schools have been hired. This program has also helped the colleges to increase enrollments in their HVAC programs.

“One school estimated that program enrollments had increased over 20 percent after formal announcement of the relationship,” said Lippold. “Additionally, CareerConnect has generated numerous news articles resulting in significant public relations activities for both the participating schools and Johnson Controls.”

For more information, visit www.johnsoncontrols.com/cg-careerconnect, or e-mail Shannon Lippold at shannon.lippold@jci.com.

Publication date:05/07/2007