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Mission: HVAC – Mission 7: Skilled Labor Shortage (Part 2)

by | Sep 28, 2018 | Mission HVAC

The skilled labor shortage has had a major impact on HVAC businesses, but the future of the trades isn’t all “doom and gloom.” The opportunities to get involved and make an impact are abundant, and they aren’t limited to the biggest companies.

Read the rest of our students’ recaps from their interviews to find out how businesses can actively combat the HVAC labor shortage.

Read part 1 of their interviews here.

Stefan: Getting in the Classrooms 

Stefan Mission HVAC 2018 Mission 7My visit on these issues also led to Rob (Owner Operator of Cooling Advisors in Riviera Beach, FL) leaning on my experience in the trade school. He was curious as to the level of the rest of the class, being impressed with my knowledge and training gleaned from school. We have made arrangements for when school starts back up in the fall to have Rob stop by and talk to the students a few times a year, thus keeping his finger on the pulse and an eye for up-and-coming talent, grassroots style. To further combat the shortage of skilled technicians in South Florida he has brought his father and brother down from New York to help fill the gap in his successful company. Having people Rob can trust has been invaluable at many levels. Rob also plans to start some YouTube channels with hopes of education and possibly inspiring more talent to enter the field. All in all, it is a very daunting task.

Having freshly experienced both the classroom and field atmosphere, it reinforces the fact that I made a great decision in an inspired pursuit of establishing myself soundly in an industry that is in great need of quality people to fill in the gaps created by the elders leaving the trade for quieter pastures. I personally have been recruiting people I see and know from the service industry and try to express the wide-open avenues that the AC trade could offer them in their lives. Some lend an ear, though most have no interest in doing difficult physical work. I will continue this passion with hopes that I can affect someone like my mentors have positively affected me. Once again, I sincerely thank Shurtape Technologies for all that they are doing to help grow the knowledge needed to raise awareness of the need for talented tradesman.

Glenn: Shoot for the Moon

My interview for this mission is with David Volante, owner of Heartland Heating and Cooling. I asked several questions about what actions can be taken to help combat the shortage of skilled workers.

One of Dave’s largest concerns is the state-wide licensing and getting people up through the program in a timely fashion. The commitment needed as an apprentice may be too long. They may need to shorten it to 2 years and 4000 hours of work experience instead of the normal 8000 hours and 4 years that they require now. Also, the testing from Apprentice 1, 2, 3, 4 and to Journeyman is very difficult. I think they are looking at changing the testing, possibly making the testing easier.

I also asked Dave what steps he has already taken to address HVAC labor shortage. They have visited with high school instructors at Central Campus in Des Moines, IA. The school sent two busloads of students to Heartland Heating and Cooling’s shop, gave a tour of the business and talked about carriers within the HVAC field. They ended up with a couple prospects and may be joining the business this Spring after graduation.

My final question for Dave was: how can HVAC businesses and employees help to educate young people about the opportunities in the HVAC careers? His response was by reaching out to High schools and Community colleges and giving presentations on the opportunities available within the HVAC field. Going to the students instead of waiting for them to come to us.

My thoughts: I think word of mouth is a great way to spread the word about the HVAC industry, like talking to friends and family about my experiences and the opportunities available within the HVAC field. The one thing that has stuck in my mind was one of my instructors who told me the importance of HVAC: no one goes to the moon without HVAC and no one goes to the bottom of the ocean without HVAC.

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