Written on: March 24, 2017 by ICM
By Ben Hanstein, Daily Bulldog, Franklin County, ME
FARMINGTON – Local businesses and adult education programs are partnering to bring an introductory Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning course to the region. Organizers hope the program can serve as a springboard to additional HVAC training.
Currently, there are not enough HVAC technicians to meet the needs of the industry. Meeting with adult education and representatives of state programs Tuesday evening, Dead River Market Manager Sally Dyer noted that she currently had two openings in Franklin County alone, and a two-and-a-half page spreadsheet of openings throughout Dead River’s northern New England coverage area.
“There’s always an opening,” she said, referring to service technicians, drivers and other positions. “We need employees.” The HVAC industry was constantly changing, Dyer noted, encompassing new elements such as heat pumps, solar and geothermal energy and natural gas.
The availability of technician jobs was high, agreed Philip Maurais of A Maurais & Son, Inc., a plumbing and heating company. “People aren’t going into trades anymore,” Maurais said, noting that college educations were being emphasized ahead of training for technical work. “You can have a society that can split the atom–but who’s going to fix it?”
HVAC technician entry level positions could make more than $20 per hour, industry experts agreed, significantly more after calculating in overtime.
The HVAC introductory course will have eight available slots, running for six weeks. Subject matter will include the introduction of multiple systems, worker safety and industry terminology.Students will also be required to job shadow with a local employer. There are multiple funding options available for the students that qualify for the class.
Mt. Blue Adult Education Director Glenn Kapiloff said that organizers hope to run additional programs in the future. Local adult ed programs in Farmington, Jay and Mexico are also working with the CareerCenter and Department of Labor to organize more advanced HVAC classes for would-be technicians. Currently, Kennebec Valley Community College offers some HVAC courses, as does a program in Brunswick.
There will be a student orientation event for individuals interested in taking the introductory HVAC course on Tuesday, March 28 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Mt. Blue Campus. Those interested are being asked to contact their local adult education program: Mt. Blue at 778-3460, Spruce Mountain at 897-6406 and Region 9 (Mexico) at 364-2012.
Article courtesy: Daily Bulldog, Franklin County, ME