This year students will be assigned an experienced mentor to help smooth the transition to their new role at Johnson Controls.

Everyone is concerned and has been impacted by the down-turning economy. Budgets have been cut, spending is scrutinized, and great care has to go into every decision to ensure the health of the organization.

However, let’s face it: existing buildings continue to require maintenance and repair services.

As skilled, senior-level technicians of the Baby Boomer generation move closer to retirement and as the world focuses more on becoming green and providing sustainable environments, there remains a significant need for skilled individuals to address the high demand for energy-related, consulting services.

The U.S. Department of Labor continues to project 9 percent growth between 2006 and 2016 in the employment of heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers, which is as fast as the average for other occupations. It is for this reason that Johnson Controls launched the Future Hires Program (FHP) with its CareerConnect partner schools.


A year ago in January, Johnson Controls announced the FHP, a long-term workforce development strategy designed to guarantee jobs for select students enrolled in their first year of the HVACR associate degree programs at one of the 14 CareerConnect partner schools across North America.

Along with a guaranteed job, students selected to participate in the FHP receive tuition aid to put toward their second-year educational costs. After graduation, students are placed in one of six technical roles that best fit their skill set and interests. Students have the opportunity to work on complex HVACR and mechanical systems that require a combination of hands-on skill and problem-solving intelligence. Some students may be required to relocate for their position, and may receive relocation assistance as a part of the program. Once in their positions, participants have the opportunity to participate in ongoing career development with industry-leading technical training through Johnson Controls.

To date, 22 students have been selected to participate in the FHP program and are poised to graduate in the spring. Each one of these students will be placed in a technical role upon their graduation. Four students have already secured employment with Johnson Controls prior to their graduation. Their positions range widely, from a sales intern in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, to a tradesman in Greenville, N.C.


Ray DeGuzman, a service technician intern in Whittier, Calif., is finishing up his AAS degree program at Cypress College while working 25 hours per week for the local service branch. He didn’t even consider this line of work until he found himself out of a job, a story that many are finding themselves in during these tough economic times.

“I never considered this profession until my old job was relocated to a different state,” said DeGuzman. “Starting over, I wanted a career in a field that had a strong future. The Future Hires Program has allowed me to join a company that is leading the industry in energy management in HVAC systems.”

The next phase of this program will focus on rolling out a mentorship program for all FHP participants. Each participant will be assigned a mentor and will be expected to meet with the mentor three times prior to graduation, keep a journal, and complete a series of online training tools prior to their start date. In addition, each student will attend a safety training session at the local branch.

“Because we want this to be a top-notch experience for all participants, we are really taking a ‘soup-to-nuts’ approach with this program,” said Shannon Lippold, program manager for CareerConnect. “We work closely with the students to be sure they continue to meet program criteria, give them access to mentors, and provide them with incremental training prior to their start date.”

According to Lippold, Johnson Controls has secured FHP applications for the graduating class of 2010.

“Our hope is that we will be able to invite 60 students to participate,” she said, noting that applications from qualified students that are enrolled in CareerConnect partner colleges have been submitted.

For more information, visit or e-mail Lippold at

Publication date:03/02/2009