MILWAUKEE - In a time of high demand for skilled building technicians, Johnson Controls is investing in the Rochester, Minn.-area talent pool by donating HVAC equipment and a digital direct controls system to the Rochester Community and Technical College controls lab. Construction of the new lab is expected to be complete this month.

“We are excited to team up with Johnson Controls to strengthen our HVAC program and enhance our students’ learning experience,” said Warren Beighley, building utilities mechanic instructor at Rochester Community and Technical College. “The new lab will be equipped with the latest technology so we can continue producing the best graduates in this field.” 

The local workforce will also benefit, as employers in Minnesota anticipate a 19 percent increase in demand for HVAC workers by the year 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Minnesota employment projections. 

“Our Rochester branch office has been around for more than 18 years, and we want to continue to build on this history,” said Jason Gorak, systems branch manager, Johnson Controls. “We see this donation as a way to prepare and recruit the type of talent needed to fill critical careers in a growing field.”

The lab, which was first unveiled in May 2007, is now being reconstructed as part of a campus-wide renovation project that includes asbestos abatement and structural and mechanical updates.  During the current semester, HVAC students will benefit from the hands-on experience of installing the mechanical and electrical components. Once in place, the new equipment will play a key role in the lab.

Rochester Community and Technical College (RCTC) was founded in 1915 by a motion of Dr. Charles Mayo, one of the founders of the Mayo Clinic and a Rochester School District board member. Today, RCTC is part of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System (MnSCU) which consists of 32 campuses including 25 two-year colleges and 7 state universities.

RCTC’s Building Utilities Mechanic (BUM) major is designed to prepare students for careers requiring skills in the operation, maintenance, troubleshooting, and repair of electrical and mechanical equipment found in commercial buildings. RCTC also offers a certificate as a Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Service Technician.

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Publication date:10/22/2007