TROY, MI — As reported last month,The Newsmet with Oakland County Schools and members of the local industry to discuss the establishment of a secondary hvacr program at one of the Oakland Technical Centers. There are four tech centers, and one currently has an hvacr program.

After The News’ initial meeting with Mary Kaye Aukee, the director of career focused education for Oakland County Schools, Aukee met with Jesse Riojas, instructor for the hvacr program at the Oakland Tech Center in Clarkston, MI, to discuss the details in developing a new program.


Although Aukee has givenThe Newsand local industry her support in developing an hvacr program, she said the final decision rests with the Oakland County School Board and the superintendent. That is why both Riojas and Aukee believe that it is in everyone’s best interest to strengthen the current program. By doing this, the school board can take a look at Riojas’ current program as a model for the new program.

A key component in the plan is to seek accreditation through Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA). PAHRA accreditation is a partnership between hvacr educators and the industry. It is also supported by several industry associations, including the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI), the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), and the Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association (GAMA), to name only a few.

Programs can seek accreditation in three areas, including residential a/c and heating, light commercial a/c and heating, and commercial refrigeration.

The process of reaching PAHRA accreditation can take a minimum of one year to complete, but the process would not stand in the way of developing the new program.

Riojas’ program is part of a construction cluster at the Oakland Tech Centers. This cluster offers a number of construction courses for students to take, such as carpentry, masonry, and heating and air-conditioning. When students enter the cluster, for the first week of classes they go to each course. After the first week, they decide which construction area they want to focus on.

The hvac component of the cluster is only offered at the Oakland Tech Center’s Northwest branch. If an hvacr program is to be introduced at one of the other three branches, the construction cluster there must be redesigned to fit the new program.

So far, the Southeast campus located in Royal Oak, MI, is being targeted as the possible location for the new program. Aukee is looking into what would need to be done to fit hvacr into the campus’ construction technology cluster.

This will also require working with architects to determine if the Royal Oak campus has the physical space necessary to undertake the new program.

If you think you can help The News in starting its hvacr program, contact James J. Siegel, 248-244-1731; 248-362-0317 (fax); (e-mail).

Publication date: 03/25/2002