In This Podcast:

Don FrendbergDon Frendberg, executive director of the HVACR Workforce Development Foundation, updates The NEWS on the organization and shares ideas on how to get more individuals interested in the HVAC industry.

Q: There’s a shortage of skilled workers. How big of a problem is this?

A: The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics puts out a report every two years, and they look at all different occupational categories, and they also do refrigeration mechanics and installers. That report projects a growth of 34 percent in our industry, just for mechanics and installers, between 2010 and 2020. That amounts to about 90,000 jobs that are going to have to be filled, either because of retirements and attrition or growth in the industry. It’s a major number. If you expand that out to all the occupation categories in HVACR, probably well over a couple hundred thousand jobs will need to be filled with people with some background and knowledge of HVACR.

Q: How do we change the public’s opinion?

A: It has to be done on both fronts. We have to raise awareness of the HVAC industry, and particularly the critical nature of it. Certainly for health and safety reasons, there’s a need for HVACR in hospitals and food service buildings — all of those require refrigeration, and it’s a very basic part of our whole lifeline to protect food and blood and so forth. We need to change it on the national level in that way, but it also needs to be done on the local level, in my opinion. It’s a great industry. People are very passionate about what they do, but unfortunately, I don’t think many of us talk about it. We need to be out talking to schools, talking to counselors, talking to parents, and even talking to veterans, also, because that is a big opportunity for those returning from service who are looking for job opportunities.

Don Frendberg
Executive Director
HVACR Workforce Development Foundation

Publication date: 10/21/2013