Imagine your air conditioning breaking down in the heat of summer and not having anyone available to fix it. With a growing labor shortage in that industry, that could soon be the case. However, a local program is now stepping in to help.
An HVAC training course is now being offered at the John Wood Community College Workforce Development Center. It’s the first time for this program. Officials with the new course say they’re hoping to combat the dwindling pool of qualified job-seekers.
“This is intro to air conditioning, refrigeration and we cover the legal requirements to work as an HVAC technician,” said HVAC 101 Instructor Richard Gertz.
Prior to JWCC offering the course, the program was taught at Vatterott College in Quincy. When the college closed last year, it left a need in the community.
“We probably have more than 1/3 of the workforce that’s retiring out and no one to replace them,” said David Arns with Aire Serv of Quincy. “Programs like John Wood is offering for the HVAC program are desperately needed.”
In the HVAC industry specifically, mechanic and installer jobs nationwide are expected to grow 15 percent by 2026, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Now it’s just a matter of finding and training potential employees who want to take those positions.
John Reinig is one of 17 students in the class and says even though he’s only two weeks into the program, he has high hopes for the future.
“I’ve got two grown children,” said Reinig. “My daughter starts college this fall and I’ve always pushed them to take an extra step so I’ve decided to do the same thing and expand my opportunities within my industry.”
The certificate includes 11 courses and two internship experiences.