This year is the third year I’ve had the pleasure of attending the HVACR & Mechanical Conference for Education Professionals, which brings together some of the top industry educators from across the country for three days of training, roundtable discussions, and networking. Held earlier this month at the Conference Center at the Maritime Institute in Linthicum Heights, Maryland, the annual event also offers educators a chance to discuss their programs and the challenges they’re facing on a daily basis, including a shortage of new workers.

I personally enjoy this event, and not just because of the all-you-can-eat meals you get as part of the hotel package (or the open bar at the evening Expo). This event gives me a chance to talk one-on-one with the people who have some of the most important jobs in this industry — finding and training the next generation of industry workers.

I can tell you from experience that these men and women don’t take their jobs lightly. In chatting with many of them, it’s clear they put their hearts and souls into teaching students as best they can with the resources they are given. I truly admire what they do for the industry.

On the last day of the conference, Kari Arfstrom, executive director of the HVACR Workforce Development Foundation, revealed the organization is working with Burning Glass Technologies to develop an in-depth study of the HVACR job landscape, which is planned for release later this year. The study will examine the supply of and demand for industry workers in order to better understand the industry job landscape.

During a presentation on some of the preliminary data during the conference, Arfstrom discussed how the information — which includes industry job posting data and average starting pay — could be used as a recruitment tool. She told conference attendees, “We’re going to need all of your help to get this information out to your communities, to your administrators, to the parents, and to your students.”

In order to make it a well-rounded study, however, the foundation needs your help. Those of you who are HVACR educators are highly encouraged to participate in a short online survey, which takes about 10-15 minutes to complete. The survey is intended for HVACR instructors/educators and administrators and includes questions about your educational institution, program enrollment numbers, employment, recruitment, and professional development. Those who share their contact information at the end of the survey will be entered into a drawing for an Amazon gift card.

For those of you who aren’t educators, I encourage you to pass the link below onto any industry educators you know. The more data the foundation can gather, the better the study will be, and the more useful it can be to you. And, when the study does come out, it stands to be a valuable tool for all in the industry to bring to their local school districts as evidence of the success a career in this industry can create.

The NEWS will cover the results of this survey later this year. The survey is open to all industry educators, and responses are due by April 15. To complete the survey, visit

Publication date: 3/30/2015 

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