According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demands for HVAC technicians is estimated to grow 34 percent nationwide between 2010 and 2020.
To meet these demands, Gateway Technical College recently unveiled six Energy Systems Training Labs.
Gateway has three campuses in the southeastern Wisconsin region, in Elkhorn, Racine, and Kenosha, serving more than 25,000 students. The college celebrated the opening of the labs and highlighted its partnerships with industry businesses at its Kenosha campus on July 18. A special ceremony was held to honor Trane, a brand of Ingersoll Rand, in its centennial year. Trane was a key partner in the development of the labs and the curriculum taught in them.
Trane and Gateway closely collaborated to enhance the college’s HVAC career and technical education program to help close the skills gap in order to meet industry-required skill levels. The labs feature innovative and advanced HVAC technology solutions. They also worked together to update the HVAC systems serving the campus, creating a living laboratory for HVAC students.
The Energy System lab design was also supported by the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3), of which Gateway and Trane are members. NC3 was established to address the need for strong industry partnerships with educational institutions to develop, implement, and sustain industry-recognized portable certifications with strong validation and assessment standards. Graduates of Gateway’s program will also achieve appropriate industry certification through NC3.
About the Labs
The labs contain equipment in residential and commercial/industrial heating and cooling, building automation, refrigeration, renewable-energy systems, and geoexchange technology. Other business partners have collaborated with Gateway to provide additional leading-edge technology training equipment.
The labs are used by students enrolled in Gateway’s air conditioning, heating, and refrigeration; air conditioning, heating, and refrigeration — geothermal technician; geothermal specialist; and electrical engineering-sustainable energy systems programs of study.
According to the school, program graduates who’ve trained in the labs have the ability to run HVAC systems to make buildings and equipment operate more efficiently using the latest technologies, and are also prepared for specific green-collar careers in wind and solar.
“This is significant for the college,” said Dr. Bryan Albrecht, Gateway’s president. “We see employers in these job markets calling for technicians with skills that go beyond HVAC. Employers are looking for skills in operating those systems in a sustainable manner.
“In addition to the new and emerging careers in wind and solar energy systems, others exist which have been reevaluated or recreated because of the need for technicians with technology skills, or the ability to run systems sustainably.”
Information courtesy of Gateway Technical College, Kenosha, Wis. For more information, visit www.gtc.edu or call 262-564-2512.
Publication date: 9/16/2013