Not many contractors — or instructors for that matter — are familiar with this group of educators, but over its short life, CARE has accomplished several of its initial goals, and membership is on the rise.
Each year in March, the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) hosts a conference for hvacr instructors. In March 1997, the instructors at that meeting decided it was important to form a group of educators separate from ARI’s event to establish further communication.
Humble BeginningsIn March 1998, CARE had its first meeting.
Since that first meeting, the organization has formed a mission statement, which says it is the goal of the organization to, “address the needs of the industry practitioner with technical educational opportunities to acquire and maintain marketable skills and competency necessary to compete successfully in a constantly changing, technologically advancing market.”
According to Patrick Murphy, CARE president, the organization’s meetings were quite informal in the beginning. The purpose of having a more informal gathering was to get a number of instructors from various parts of the country to voice concerns and make suggestions on how training could be improved.
After getting these instructors together, Murphy says that the organization started to set some goals.
“The first goal was to have a level playing platform,” said Murphy
This meant taking part in making suggestions and approving the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refriger-ation Accreditation (PAHRA).
This accreditation, with the help of CARE, sets standards that hvacr departments and training schools should follow. Murphy explains that by adopting the accreditation as CARE’s standard, all hvacr schools will be operating at the same level.
Robert Bates, CARE treasurer, explains that PAHRA is valuable for both instructors and students. He says that it is important for an hvacr technician to be able to get the same education no matter what training facility he or she goes to.
“We should all be following the ARI curriculum guide,” said Bates, who adds that a lot of instructors don’t realize how valuable a resource the guide can be.
Besides establishing a universal accreditation standard, Bates says that CARE is a way to help out instructors who are looking to boost their programs. He also says that CARE would like to develop programs to help educators become better teachers.
“A lot of our teachers are guys working in the field for years. They have great knowledge, but that doesn’t mean you know how to relate it,” Bates said.
CARE would also like to help members of the organization by improving their curriculum and updating their labs.
Larry Jeffus, CARE vice president representing post-secondary schools, says that it is important to help instructors establish contacts so they can receive more support.
As one of the three CARE vice presidents, Jeffus says that he has spent a great deal of time traveling and visiting schools with hvacr programs. During his travels, he encouraged instructors to take part in CARE. He also was able to point instructors in the right direction when it comes to classroom and lab donations.
Jeffus explains that there are many instructors in the field who know the tricks of the trade when it comes to education. This includes being able to obtain donations or finding ways to improve curriculum.
“There are a lot of free services we can share with each other,” said Jeffus. “I talk with instructors and give them benefits of being in CARE and try to get them involved in programs and help them out.”
Future GoalsNow that CARE has brought together a diverse group of educators, administrators, and even contractors, the next step is to continue to improve the educational possibilities in the industry.
When CARE members come together again for the annual meeting, more goals will be set and loose ends will be tied up.
One issue that will be discussed will be the possibility of officially recognizing two state chapters of CARE.
Bob Feathers is the department head for the hvac department at RETS Technical College in Center-ville, OH. Feathers says that he and several other educators from Ohio were attending the annual CARE meetings in Arlington, VA.
Through those annual meetings, the Ohio educators decided it was important to meet more than once a year. With that in mind, the Ohio chapter of CARE, known as OCARE, was formed.
According to Feathers, OCARE is still in the beginning stages, but the state chapter is following closely in the direction of the national level of CARE.
“We’re looking to standardize education and help along with accreditation,” said Feathers.
Feathers says that PAHRA is important to the industry and to educators because it is about, “heating and air conditioning teachers telling heating and air conditioning schools what to teach.”
Feathers asserted that it is a great benefit to hvac students. He explains that PAHRA could allow for more programs to offer associate’s degrees. It may also allow for students who are enrolled at one hvacr program to be able to more easily transfer credits to another program. This is especially important when a student wants to transfer his or her credits toward a possible associate’s degree.
Feathers also says that with OCARE just getting started, there is the possibility to expand. CARE is looking into establishing regional chapters.
Currently there is also a state chapter of CARE in Illinois, known as ICARE. These chapters could link together and also include the states of Michigan, Indiana, and other surrounding states.
According to Bates, CARE would like to see three or four regional chapters of the organization. The regional chapters would be ideal, because this setup would give more educators the opportunity to participate in CARE activities without traveling all the way to Virginia.
These regional chapters would allow for area instructors and educators to more readily get together and share ideas. It would also allow for more educators to take part in workshops.
Bates says that this is another goal of CARE, to provide more workshops that would instruct teachers on effective teaching techniques.
Involvement in CARE is very simple. One year of membership costs $25. Members are then classified and placed into one of three groups. Members who have earned a nationally recognized hvacr certification are enrolled as a Certified Active Member. Individuals who are working towards certification are recognized as Active Members, and those who are currently not working toward a certification are recognized as Associate Members.
Bates says that CARE’s numbers are growing, and he encourages instructors and educators to get involved. He tells potential members, “anything we can do to make education better will make us better in the long run.”
Publication date: 01/29/2001