Investing In The Future of HVAC – Part 3
This article is a continuation of the previous two articles titled “Investing In The Future of HVAC”. As was previously discussed, we all know that finding qualified HVAC technicians is getting harder for employers. RightTek HVAC Training, in partnership with the local Johnstone Supply store decided that not meeting the needs of this industry with trained technicians was not acceptable. A six–week Bootcamp style course was developed to produce a junior-level service technician, ready to enter the workforce. This current issue is going to focus on the Week III curriculum while continuing to highlight several students who took the step forward to better their lives and their success stories after they completed the course.
Week three continued with a full week of planned lectures and hands-on exercises. To reinforce the “Boot Camp“ method of repetitive learning, everything taught in the first two weeks was repeated with an accelerated pace while inserting new material to build on what was already learned. To continually expand the understanding of the basic refrigeration cycle, students participated in constant hands-on lab exercises throughout the day, reinforced with oral & written quizzes to show where students need to focus their studies. By Week III, all the students were showing confidence rarely seen, except in senior technicians. Students could showcase the refrigeration cycle and trace out all the components on the live units. They could explain how every component works on an individual basis and collectively on every unit within the classroom as if they designed the system themselves. This intimate knowledge allowed the students to troubleshoot faults with a true understanding of abnormal conditions and how to restore the classroom units to normal conditions.
Hands-on exercises lengthened in time duration and complexity throughout the week. These exercises included performing refrigerant recoveries (passive & active) in preparation for major repair examples, that then required nitrogen pressure testing, vacuum/evacuation procedures employing micron gages and proper refrigerant charging techniques. Extra time was spent every day on the various units (fixed piston & TXV) to ensure the students mastered all the “proper charging procedures” to optimize system performance when out in the real-world.
With the EPA 608 Certification exam being administered at the end of the week, students were consistently exposed to EPA requirements. Other Week III material continued with in-depth familiarization and testing of electrical components to include motors, compressors, control wiring, proper wiring configurations, safety switches and understanding wiring diagrams. Classroom lectures continued with an emphasis on proper installation procedures including optimal unit placement, refrigerant piping, brazing and cold-weather installation methods.
Meet One of Our Students
Dustan Dunlap came to the first day of Bootcamp as a residential HVAC installer with no experience as a service technician. To advance from a field installer to a service technician, Dustan knew he would need to acquire knowledge & experience and the 6-Week Bootcamp was going to deliver what he needed. Luckily Dustan’s employer saw potential in Dustan and signed him up for the intensive program. Having his employer pay for the tuition and provide salary while attending class allowed Dustan to show up the first day of class without worrying about his paycheck. Always one of the first students to engage in the hands-on exercises, Dustan would ask questions until he felt comfortable with the material being taught. When Dustan completed the course, he was promoted from installer to service technician that same week and within a few short weeks, he was driving solo for his company in his own service truck. We recently caught up with Dustan and he shared with us that his pay had increased twice with his new role and that he was performing weekend and on-call duty by himself. Dustan contributes his success in-part to the real-world lectures and lab exercises on how things work and what to expect in the field when troubleshooting. In his own words, “This class was my ticket to a brighter future, and I feel fortunate that my employer had faith in me and sent me to this class”. Additionally, Dustan shared with us that his confidence in dealing with clients has improved and he is now “being requested by name” from many repeat customers. We could not be any prouder of Dustan’s accomplishments and watching him grow professionally during this past year!
NEXT MONTH’S ISSUE
In next month’s issue we will showcase the topics taught in Week IV and we look forward to sharing with you how this innovative program is changing lives, as we share with you another student’s story. (This article is Part Three of a Six–Part Series)
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