I recently had a conversation with an HVACR instructor - Eugene Silberstein - about how many HVACR vocational/technical schools lack updated equipment to train students. He knows what he is talking about. Silberstein is the director of the HVACR program at Suffolk Community College in New York, so I've got to believe him when he says that so many schools are hurting because they don't have the best equipment.

I can't expect every equipment manufacturer and every distributor to routinely donate equipment to schools - that would be asking too much. I am glad to know that many companies make it a habit to supply equipment, materials, and sometimes guest speakers for classroom instruction. These companies know the value of attracting students to HVACR programs and keeping them by providing the latest technology.

It is in the best interest of all equipment manufacturers that HVACR students learn how to troubleshoot and service all makes of equipment because that knowledge raises the bar of the trade; it even makes the equipment last longer and perform more efficiently - pretty good advertising for any manufacturer.

I was perusing some HVACR stories from across the United States the other day and came across a news item from Indianapolis. Carrier Corp. had generously donated 100 window air conditioning units to the Indianapolis Public Schools. Carrier has also donated hundreds of air conditioners in cities across the nation experiencing record high temperatures. The effort focused on elderly and high-risk residents in Indianapolis, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Raleigh, N.C.

That's a great thing for Carrier to do, and my hat goes off to them.

I recently had the good fortune to participate in the Jimmy Carter Habitat for Humanity Blitz Build of 30 homes in the Detroit area. The furnaces and ductwork for each home were generously donated by equipment manufacturers, working through their local distributors.

These examples of helping to keep people safe and comfortable are the norm for the HVACR trade. And maybe it is asking a lot to request manufacturers donate even more equipment to our educational institutions. But maybe not.

Help Spreads To Teaching

The health and safety of building occupants is first and foremost. After that, many other good causes can fall into line - such as what Silberstein was talking about.

Let's take Carrier again. Carrier has made generous equipment donations to the Ulster County Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) in New Paltz, N.Y,. for its HVACR program.

Back in 2003, The News and the Southeast Oakland Technical Center in Royal Oak, Mich. asked equipment manufacturers to donate to the new HVACR program. They did - with resounding success. Manufacturers like Rheem, Lennox, Trane, and ECR International stepped up to the plate and gave a much-needed boost to the new program.

Now, with the need for well-trained and career-minded HVACR technicians at an all-time high, the need for well-stocked classrooms remains at a critical level.

I hope our good friends in the manufacturing community continue to support the HVACR schools.

John R. Hall is business management editor. He can be reached at 734-464-1970, 248-786-1390 (fax), or johnhall@achrnews.com.

Publication date: 08/29/2005