TSTC listens to industry partners to make students work-ready
RED OAK - While people pursuing the heating and air conditioning industry need to know how electricity and refrigeration flows work and how a meter functions, interpersonal skills are just as important to have.
Texas State Technical College's Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology program has a statewide advisory board made of industry professionals to help it keep up with the skills that students need to stay ahead.
"The advisory board told us last month that the industry is still rolling and COVID-19 has not slowed them down at all," said Lance Lucas, TSTC's statewide Air Conditioning and Refrigeration program chair. "HVAC technicians are still needed throughout the state."
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that there will be 391,900 jobs for heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and installers by 2029. The agency attributes the growth to commercial and residential building construction and the development of climate-control systems.
Texas had more than 26,600 heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and installers in May 2019 making an annual mean wage of $46,840, according to a news release.
Roy Boyd, service manager at Airmasters Heating and Air Conditioning Inc. in Cleburne, said work ethic and personality play major roles in considering which people to hire. Company employees have to communicate well with customers, dispatchers, technicians and others.
"We are always looking for good help," Boyd said. "We can bring them in when they are green and build them up to our standards. Or if they come in with the skills, we can hone those in and do it the way we want. We have a high standard of quality."
Devorah Jakubowsky, the Texas Air Conditioning Contractors Association's executive director, said the organization's members will look forward in 2021 to touting the importance of indoor air quality, refrigeration and new technologies. She said people will continue to be needed to fill jobs as workers retire.
"We have to do a better job of convincing people that HVAC is a good career option," Jakubowsky said. "You get to work with your hands and not behind a desk. You get to troubleshoot and figure things out. You earn a good living, and you don't rack up mounds of student debt obtaining a four-year degree."
Registration continues for the spring semester at TSTC, which starts Jan. 11. For more information, go to tstc.edu.