TROY, MI — For 75 years,The Newshas been providing contractors with the information they need to succeed. Week after week, The Newscovers a variety of issues that affect the industry, including new legislation, licensing, certification, new technologies — the list goes on and on.

But one issue that The News staff runs into on a regular basis is the diminishing pool of new technicians entering the hvacr industry.

This fact is hard to deny. There are a variety of statistics and numbers to back up this phenomenon. For example, every year 20,000 technicians and installers are needed in the hvacr industry. And according to Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for hvacr-related jobs is expected to increase about as fast as the average of all occupations through the year 2010.

The News has consistently reported on the state of the industry and has also offered advice on what contractors can do to revive it.

Now, The News is set to take a step in a direction that we hope will not only inform readers about how they can pull the industry up, but also inspire them to do the same.

Very soon, The News will choose a high school or vocational school in Oakland County, Michigan. We will sponsor this school and, with the assistance of local industry, we will support its heating and air conditioning program.

From this endeavor, we hope to introduce the opportunity of a career in hvacr to more young people in the area and, at the same time, create a source that contractors can tap into in order to develop employees with the necessary skills to succeed in the industry.

The Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) successfully launched an hvacr program at Custer High School in Milwaukee, WI.

OUR INSPIRATION

On March 29, 2001, after more than a year of work and negotiation, an industry task force for the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) successfully launched an hvacr program at Custer High School in Milwaukee, WI.

ARI acquired manufacturer donations for the school’s lab; the local technical college stepped in to offer teaching assistance, as well as college credit for the course; and area contractors and others in the industry came together to offer their services in any way possible.

In the past, the Custer High School program only offered a two-year program due to its diminishing resources. Today, the high school can offer a complete, four-year heating and air conditioning course.

This pilot program was meant to provide the Milwaukee area with more possible technicians, as well as inspire other contractors across the country, letting them know what can be done when people work together towards a common goal.

We at The News have been inspired by the Milwaukee pilot program and believe we can do the same thing. Our goal will also be to expose young people to an industry that they may not be aware of, create a pool of new employment for contractors, and also inspire our readers to take initiative in their own communities.

The News is based in Troy, MI, north of Detroit. In the outlying areas, we know that the local hvacr industry and its contractors could use a boost. Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal that in the state of Michigan alone, there will be a 20% increase in the need for heating and air conditioning mechanics and installers by 2008.

Not only have we seen the numbers, we have also heard personally from some local industry representatives that the need for technicians matches the need we see on a national level.

WE CAN’T DO IT ALONE

Some in the local industry have already expressed interest in what we are attempting to do, and this type of help is absolutely necessary in order to succeed. Over the next year,The Newswill need area contractors and manufacturers to launch this new program.

Also, The News hopes our readers will be there with us over the period of time it will take to introduce the program. Each month we will provide our readers with updates on our progress. We hope that our readers provide us with suggestions and help.

With the local community, we believe that we can show how education is the key to overcoming many industry problems, including the lack of qualified technicians. And if all goes well, maybe we can receive help from our national hvacr community as well.

Publication date: 01/14/2002