Helping Students Overcome the Costs Associated With Technical School

As a regular reader of The NEWS, I often read about a recurring theme regarding the need, both now and in the near future, for trained technicians and other skilled employees in the HVACR industry. Many of the articles I read about the shortage of trained technicians note the lack of recruitment efforts and other forms of promotion from the industry itself. Also, I have read that business and industry leaders in the HVACR industry feel the need to do more to promote interest, recruitment, and education in the HVACR field in order to help fill this skilled labor shortage.

In an article in The NEWS, from the Sept. 12, 2011 edition, “Labor Shortage: Will HVAC Pass the Test?” by Angela Harris, there was a quote from Chris Compton, “The industry does provide a lot of lip service to the issue, but has done little to organize and approach the issue as an industry with a coordinated and collective voice,” he said. “Until that happens, it is doubtful that things will really change.”

Things are changing. The members of MAACA (Metropolitan Atlanta Air Conditioning Contractors Association) are putting their money where their mouth is, and offering more than just lip service to this critical issue. On Aug. 23, 2012, three members of MAACA, Jim Corbin with Corbin Comfort Systems in Lake City, Ga.; Elaine Powers, with Powers Heating and Air Conditioning in Peachtree City, Ga.; and Mike Paino, with A Better Heating and Air Conditioning in Lovejoy, Ga. (members of the MAACA scholarship committee) met with officials from the Advancement Division and the Air Conditioning Technology Program Department of Southern Crescent Technical College (SCTC) in Griffin, Ga., to discuss a scholarship fund especially for HVAC students at the college. The details were worked out and the MAACA/Tim Derrick Memorial Air Conditioning Technology Scholarship at SCTC was established.

Beginning spring semester 2013, and the fall semester to follow, four HVAC students at SCTC who apply for the scholarship and meet the requirements will receive a $250 scholarship that can be used for textbooks, tools, or certification exams. So, eight students per year will have the opportunity to receive the scholarship.

One of the biggest obstacles for students interested in the field of HVACR is financial. Due to the economic climate of the last few years, state and federal financial aid programs have been cut drastically while tuition costs have risen. This $250 scholarship may not seem like a lot of money, but it will go a long way in helping bright and deserving HVACR students to complete the HVACR program of study and enter the workforce with the technical training they need for entry-level employment in the HVACR industry.

Thank you MAACA!

Ricky Henson
Air Conditioning Technology Program Coordinator/Instructor
Southern Crescent Technical College
Griffin, Ga.

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Publication date: 10/1/2012