FDTC, local employers offer career opportunities in HVAC dual enrollment program
Florence-Darlington Technical College (FDTC) is launching a new dual enrollment program to help high school students in Florence School District One (FSD1) get a head start on well-paying careers in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC).
The HVAC Dual Enrollment Program will allow FSD1 high school juniors and seniors to take courses at FDTC and earn college credit towards a certificate in HVAC Technology. Students who complete the program may enter the workforce immediately upon graduation or continue their education at FDTC and earn an Associate’s Degree in HVAC Technology. The program also includes opportunities for full scholarships and paid internships sponsored by local HVAC business owners.
Representatives from FDTC and HVAC scholarship sponsors were available to meet with interested students and parents at West Florence, Wilson, and South Florence high schools during school registration for juniors.
The inspiration for the HVAC Dual Enrollment Program came from Angie Woodberry, local owner of Johnstone Supply, a leading wholesale distributor of HVAC equipment, parts and supplies. Woodberry says she saw a need for more students to pursue HVAC technology when her customers, local HVAC contractors, complained about not being able to find qualified employees.
“I think it is important for students and parents to know that HVAC is a very lucrative career with lots of job opportunities for trained technicians,” Woodberry said. “The job placement rate is near 100% and job security is very high. If you ask anyone you know how he feels about having heated and cooled air in his home, you will understand the need for this industry to be fully staffed.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth in the HVAC industry is projected to increase at 15% over the next eight years, which is several times higher than the national average for most other jobs. Median annual wages in 2017 were approximately $47,000.
Woodberry says that local HVAC employers are willing to sponsor scholarships and internships for highly motivated students who show strong interest in the program, in hopes of creating a pipeline of quality employees. The scholarships will be offered through the FDTC Educational Foundation.
Angela Hayek, Director of K-12 Relations at FDTC, said the program is a resource for both students and employers.
“By partnering with the high schools and members of the HVAC industry, we can work to ensure that well-paying trade jobs are filled in the Pee Dee,” Hayek said.