The four-year apprenticeship program established by the Palm Beach Chapter at Royal Palm Beach High School is no run-of-the-mill vocational class.

The Academy for Environmental Technology offers a sophisticated curriculum, the same one used in the Associated General Contractors’ (AGC’s) apprenticeship program. Apprentices work in a 6,000-sq-ft lab equipped with up to a dozen computerized refrigeration simulators.

Says Steve Denny, “We expect these trainees to sit down with a computer, diagnose a system, or go on to a control system where it’s in place. We also hope the Academy students will take this training and choose their career direction.”

Apprentices who complete the program successfully receive 21 college hours toward an industrial management degree. Denny tells parents, “Graduates might run a company for someone else, or own the company and run it for themselves.

“If they choose not to go to college, they can step into a well-paying career. Their skills and knowledge can move them ahead of more-experienced techs.”