MILWAUKEE - In a time when the HVAC industry is facing a shortage of skilled workers, Pennsylvania College of Technology (Penn College, a Penn State affiliate) and Johnson Controls are teaming up to attract and groom the next generation of HVAC technicians.

Johnson Controls donated resources and equipment to partnering schools to support existing curriculum and simulate the work environment, through the manufacturer’s national program CareerConnect. The company’s contributions to Penn College will include classroom and lab learning materials, instruction from local industry experts, and paid internship opportunities. The total market value of the program to Penn College is more than $13,000.

The company will also participate in community and recruiting events to increase local awareness of career opportunities available to skilled technicians. According to employment projections reported by the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, the total number of HVAC-related skilled trade positions is expected to grow nearly 10 percent nationwide by 2016. In Pennsylvania alone, there will be 300 new HVAC jobs openings annually.

Students enrolled in key programs at Penn College’s School of Construction and Design Technologies are also eligible for the Johnson Controls Future Hires Program. This opportunity offers select students scholarship money to help mitigate tuition costs, and it guarantees a technician a job with Johnson Controls upon graduation. Up to five students from Penn College can be selected annually for participation.

“Our school and students have a lot to gain from this relationship with Johnson Controls,” said Marc Bridgens, acting dean of the School of Construction and Design Technologies. “We gain access to industry leadership and our students can obtain an employment offer with a Fortune 500 company.”

Through its local network of service professionals, including branches in Harrisburg and others throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, Johnson Controls offers a team of experts and a range of service solutions designed to improve facility performance.

“These programs allow Johnson Controls to meet the needs of our growing service business by investing in promising local talent,” said Chris McNally, Central Pennsylvania service branch manager. “We also shorten our recruiting cycle and benefit from increased productivity of our new hires.”

To date, Penn College is one of 14 schools involved in the CareerConnect program throughout North America. Colleges are evaluated based on school and program demographics, including diversity statistics, curriculum (and ability to modify it), geographic areas served, enrollments, placement statistics, strategies, and its relationship with Johnson Controls.

Pennsylvania College of Technology became an affiliate of Penn State University in 1989. Before that it was known as Williamsport Area Community College (1965-89) and Williamsport Technical Institute (1941-65). Today, Penn College is a special mission affiliate of Penn State, committed to applied technology education. More than 6,500 students are enrolled in the bachelor degree, associate degree, and certificate majors, relating to more than 100 different career fields.

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Publication date:10/06/2008