Five men are on their way to earning promising careers in the HVAC industry.
Bevill State Community College and Alabama Power Company hosted the first HVAC Boot Camp graduation on Wednesday at the HVAC Training Center in Jasper's Industrial Court.
"This boot camp that we have had this summer has been an 11-week course where five students have gone through state of the art training in the HVAC industry," Bevill State President Dr. Kim Ennis said prior to the graduation ceremony. "They are a trailblazing group of individuals because they have chosen to participate in this type of educational program."
John Nolan of Springville, Michael Grove of Tuscaloosa, Jamie Martin of Jasper, Clifton McDaniel of Double Springs and Kolby Russell of Cordova all received certificates for completing the program. The graduates were trained to perform maintenance on various brands and models of heating, ventilating and air conditioning equipment that is housed at the HVAC center.
All of the equipment inside the center was provided by nearly 50 manufacturers and distributors.
Ennis explained that the HVAC Training Center is owned by Bevill State and Alabama Power uses the facility to train HVAC technicians across the country.
In a recent statement provided to the Daily Mountain Eagle, Bevill State Workforce Specialist Amanda Clement-Tice said, "The HVAC Boot Camp is the same training and certifications that industry participants receive over a two-year period in the 10 core classes. Instead of attending two weeks at a time over approximately a two-year period, the HVAC Boot Camp participants completed the entire curriculum by attending full-time for 11 weeks."
Al Moore, Bevill State's dean of workforce solutions and economic development, presented graduates with their certificates, along with Joel Owen, the manager of the HVAC Training Center.
"We have just been blown away by these young men," Moore said.
Each graduate of the HVAC Boot Camp has also qualified for 21 credits toward earning a two-year degree at Bevill State, according to Moore.
After the graduation ceremony, graduates had an opportunity to interview with HVAC employers in attendance.
"I have five graduates and 10 representatives from the industry here. You do the math," Owen said.
Grove told representatives of the media in attendance that he is thankful for the opportunity to have attended the HVAC Boot Camp, and he hopes to get more industry training.
"I was just going to work in manufacturing, but I saw that I wasn't being pushed to my full potential," Grove said. "I really wanted a career, and I figured I would give this a shot. Fortunately, it was a great shot."
"You're to be commended," Ennis told the graduates. "There are five of you. When this course started there were five of you. The retention that we have seen in this program is unprecedented. This is incredible in the educational field."
Moore said the college plans to hold another HVAC Boot Camp next summer and will have 12 slots available. Interested applicants should email Amanda Clement Tice at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to earning 295 hours of industry training, those who graduate the boot camp program receive a Bevill State certification and an EPA Section 608 Refrigerant Handling Certification. They also qualify to take the State of Alabama HVAC-R Contractors Exam.
According to a recent press release from Bevill State, the HVAC-R Workforce Foundation reports by 2021 the country will experience a shortage of over 170,000 HVAC technicians. Bevill State's Workforce Solutions Division developed the HVAC-R curriculum, in partnership with Alabama Power, to meet the industry's need.
Videos from the graduation can be found on the Daily Mountain Eagle Facebook page.