INCLINE VILLAGE, NV — Technician certification has come to the forefront of two major players in the unionized sector of the hvacr industry.

The Mechanical Service Contractors Association (MSCA) and United Association (UA) announced plans to develop a technician certification program, complete with patches and logos.

UA’s Don House told attendees at the association’s annual conference that certification is a “natural extension” of the already extensive training program offered through the UA.

He said that a sample test is being developed that will be “trial-ballooned” to about 100 technicians, with an eye toward developing a test that is not a piece of cake.

“Naturally, if everybody scores 100%, we will have to look at a reworking,” said House.

While the concept is in preliminary stages, House said he expected that the tests would be administered and graded by an independent third party.

MSCA’s Ken Wohlfarth speculated that contractors may want to offer some financial incentive to techs who pass the test.

And Fred Ziffer, who serves on the MSCA Oversight Committee, said there would probably be some type of recertification clause.

At this early point, there is no timetable for the fledgling program’s launch.

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In a related training announcement, House noted that the UA is continuing its effort to develop an interactive curriculum, including distant learning training and the use of laptop computers.

Wohlfarth told attendees that the current National Mechanical Equipment Service and Maintenance Agreement between the UA (representing unionized workers) and the MSCA (representing contractors), is scheduled to end in August, 2000.

“A new agreement needs a lot of work and fine-tuning,” Wohlfarth said. “We’ve got to clean it up and make it fit.”