By the time they participated in commencement activities on May 9, all but one of the Fast Track Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration students at Terra State Community College had accepted positions in the field.
Now, requests for HVACR technicians continue to pour in to the college and officials can only look to fill next year’s roster with students who can help address HVACR needs in 2015.
“We had several companies looking for students at the end of spring semester but all of our students were already spoken for,” said Assistant Professor Steve Bender. “Just last week, we heard from four more companies who are looking for technicians but our cupboard is bare.”
Joan Gamble, Coordinator of Career Services, also fields some of the phone calls.
“Central Heating and Cooling from the Youngstown area was looking to hire 10 graduates and was disappointed to learn most had already accepted jobs,” Gamble said. “The representative who called me is an alumnus of Terra. He wants to hire graduates because of the hands-on component of our program.”
The calls are becoming a weekly occurrence.
“I think factories and service businesses are really struggling to fill HVACR positions,” he said. “Emerson Climate Technologies of Sidney, Ohio, the largest refrigeration and air conditioning compressor manufacturer in the world, has already asked if they could visit in the fall to meet with our students. They are looking for lab technicians.”
Class schedules and course requirements don’t always allow for company visits but that’s where Career Services at the college come into play. Joan Gamble, Coordinator of Career Services, and her staff host two job fairs each year, and companies can meet with potential employees.
Gamble’s department also operates the Terra Thunder Job Board which is available to students and alumni 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“One of the favorite parts of my work at Terra is assisting students and alumni with their job search,” Gamble said.
The need isn’t surprising. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, HVACR is one of the fastest growing occupations in the country.
“Many of our older students are those who have been downsized out of other jobs,” Bender said. “They know that HVACR jobs can’t be sent overseas and there will always be a demand for qualified technicians.”
Terra State offers two options in the HVACR program – the traditional program that meets at night and the nine-month Fast Track certificate that meets four days a week throughout the academic year. Both the traditional and Fast Track certificates are also part of the degree program.
Registration for fall semester is currently underway. For more information, contact the Admissions Office at 419-559-2349.