Editor’s Note: The following remarks were made regarding the “How Do We Attract the Next Generation of HVAC?” article by Jen Anesi.

Proper Training for the Next Generation

We are not putting workers in the business because the training is setup incorrectly. Most of the workers being trained are not young people, but are people re-entering training. The trades are not glamorous, and I doubt you will ever attract young people until they are old enough to look down the road of life, get banged around a little, and realize what a wonderful life can be owned by working in the trades. But, be careful, the trades are never enough. Start life in the trades and then pursue and pay for other education. A few points:

1. Schools cannot get financial aid with concern for accreditation. A lot of what the schools do is focused on getting financial aid, which requires the student to spend too much time in school and acquiring too much debt before entering the workforce. They are also spending too much time doing things that try to lead to certification. Rookies do not need certification yet.

2. Schools will not and cannot spend enough money to have field experience labs. We need contractors involved in training with interns and ride-along helpers at no cost to the contractors. Contractors continually refuse to get involved with training. I’ve had lots of students who would ride along free of charge and help, but contractors will not let them.

3. Private schools are also faced with accreditation and financial aid, plus they must make a profit for the stock holders. An example would be a school in the Midwest that charges $28,000 dollars for 60 weeks of training, 4 ½ hours per day, four days per week. That 1,080 hours is way more than necessary to get started in this trade.

4. I had only 16 weeks of training in the military. Here are the few classes that are needed to put people in the field: refrigeration, basic heating, basic electrical, and sheet metal fabrication. I can teach all of this effectively in 400 hours. The problem is, there is no financial aid and no national certification other than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Chlorofluorocarbon (EPA-CFC.)

5. I am semi-retired, but I would love to train people in this fashion if students could only get funded, which would be a lot less money, and if we could get contractors to have interns.
Thanks for your article.

Larry Sileven
Part-time instructor
Vatterott College
Hannibal, Missouri

Publication date: 1/19/2015