Industry, TCL partner to solve VAC workforce shortage
Employment of HVAC professionals is projected to grow 15 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
With the appropriate skills, training and certifications, HVAC Installation, Maintenance and Repair Technicians can expect average salaries of $47,000.
Locally, however, the industry is facing an escalating employment crisis: there are more jobs than trained workers.
The Technical College of the Lowcountry seeks to bridge this gap through the Southern Beaufort Tech Initiative aimed at establishing key technology training programs – like HVAC – on the College’s New River Campus in Bluffton.
To kickoff the initiative, Mingledorff’s Inc., the southeast’s leading distributor of heating, cooling and ventilation products, generously outfitted a state-of-the art HVAC lab at New River, which will allow TCL to better meet the industry’s growing need for trained workers.
Students will learn the fundamentals but will also have access to the latest technology. The lab features basic systems but also includes the most energy efficient units on the market, which will prepare students for work in a variety of residential and business settings for years to come.
In addition, TCL and the Beaufort County School District will launch a new HVAC dual-enrollment program this year. High school juniors and seniors will take HVAC courses at TCL and earn college credit towards a college certificate. Students who complete the program may enter the workforce immediately upon graduation or continue their education at TCL and earn an Associate Degree in General Technology. The program will include opportunities for scholarships and paid internships.
“By partnering with industry leaders like Mingledorff and area high schools, we can provide our local citizens the education they need to secure healthy, family-sustaining jobs that contribute to our region’s economy,” said TCL President Dr. Richard Gough.