Michael Snow
ELGIN, Ill. - Michael Snow, a student of Elgin Community College's (ECC) HVACR program, has won a 2006 Clifford H. "Ted" Rees Jr. Scholarship through the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI), providing him with needed tuition money to continue working toward his ECC associate degree.

While Snow, of Algonquin, works toward an associate of applied science degree in HVACR, he is currently earning certificates in this area through "laddering." To date he has earned a level I basic vocational specialist certificate and will earn a level II in December.

Laddering at ECC allows a student to earn specialty certificates while they work toward their associate degree. The five classes required for Snow's level I and II certificates are already built into the degree, which means not only will he have earned two certificates by December, but he's already well on his way to earning his associate degree.

Students considered for this scholarship are judged not only on their career objectives but also by their commitment to a career in the HVACR industry as an entry-level technician. The scholarship was established to assist with the recruitment and competency of future HVACR technicians by awarding scholarships to qualified students who are enrolled or plan to enroll in an institutionally accredited school.

Snow, who worked as a tool and die maker for 20 years, knew he needed to make a career switch due to the changing economy in that industry. For a time he was the foreman of a plastics company, working on projects for companies like General Motors, Abbott Laboratories, and Motorola. Currently he works for Commercial Construction of Bensenville, a company that provides maintenance and carpentry work for such stores as Banana Republic, The Gap, Old Navy, and Express.

"All the classes I've taken at ECC have helped me in one form or another to do my current job better," said Snow.

Taking a 50 percent pay cut since his tool and die days, Snow asked himself what type of work he could do in the future that would provide training in a reasonable amount of time. So he chose ECC's HVACR program.

It's a great program with a great approach," said Snow. "The teachers and the program help students build confidence, and Andy Erbach [ECC associate professor of HVAC] took me under his wing. He and the other teachers understand that some of us are new to this industry, and they have been there for me every step of the way."

Snow has calculated that the $2,000 scholarship will just about cover the cost of the rest of his associate degree.

"That's why this scholarship is so great," said Snow. "Every little bit helps."

For information about ECC's HVACR program, contact Erbach at 847-214-7287 or aerbach@elgin.edu, or visit the Website at www.elgin.edu/academics. Under career/technical programs use the drop-down menu to select heating and air.

Publication date: 11/06/2006