Petroleum Association unveils new HVAC training program

There are an estimated 40,000 job openings in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) industry, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. An estimated 2,000 of those openings are in Pennsylvania.

To help address the ongoing need for HVAC technicians, the Pennsylvania Petroleum Association Technical Education Center (PPATEC) — the training arm of the Pennsylvania Petroleum Association — has created a 10-week HVAC & Energy Professional Program.

While open to anyone interested in pursuing the HVAC industry as a career, the PPATEC is reaching out specifically to military professionals that are making the transition to civilian careers or veterans looking to make a change — to let them know about the training option.

The newly-launched HVAC & Energy Professional Program offers a curriculum that is designed to give veterans the baseline skills they need to secure a job in the in-demand industry.

“On Veterans Day, we all take the opportunity to thank those who have served. Our organization is working to offer our veterans something in addition to gratitude: an opportunity for a secure future,” Ted Harris, the Pennsylvania Petroleum Association’s executive vice president, said in a statement.

The program offers veterans another key advantage, according to the association. The Pennsylvania Petroleum Association Technical Education Center is a Pennsylvania Department of Education-approved private licensed school. In an emailed response to questions, Harris added that because the organization is also a VA-approved training provider, it allows veterans to use their GI Bill benefits for qualified military service members.

“The GI Bill can cover their tuition cost and lodging expenses while they pursue their education — which is a benefit to both the student and the employer — if the student is already working for an HVAC company and wants to step up their technical capabilities,” he said in the emailed response.

Completion of the program provides graduates with an “immediate path” to a well-paying career, according to a press release. The average HVAC technician salary in Pennsylvania is $54,740. In addition, graduates of the program will have access to the Pennsylvania Petroleum Association’s 400 member companies — many of which are continually seeking qualified technicians.

The Pennsylvania Petroleum Association Technical Education Center also has a separate scholarship program to assist veterans and other students in completing the program with lower — or zero — out-of-pocket costs.

The program is new, having completed a successful “first run” in September. The initial session had four graduates who attended the inaugural session, according to Harris. Two of the participants were veterans. One of the veteran participants used his GI benefits to pay for his entire tuition. He graduated on a Friday and began his new career at Suburban Propane the following Monday, he added.

In addition, there were several technicians from some of the association’s member companies that attended “specific portions of our curriculum through the 10-week course.”

Each session can accommodate up to 14 students according to Harris, to allow for effective student-to-teacher interaction and allow for optimum contact with the equipment.

Currently, there are two, 10-week sessions scheduled in 2023 (starting Jan.15 and July 10), but Harris added that more sessions could be added based on demand from veterans and others interested in a heating and cooling career. He also added that the organization also plans to enlarge its hands-on learning areas in the coming months.

Individuals interested in the program are encouraged to visit https://ppatec.com/train/begin-your-career/ to learn more.

Training offered through the Middletown-based Pennsylvania Petroleum Association Technical Education Center is specifically tailored for energy marketers in Pennsylvania and surrounding states. Member companies contribute to coursework to help design training programs that offer students a direct, hands-on learning experience that results in strengthening the professional skills of their employees and ensuring they maintain proper industry certification.

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