(RED OAK) – The Texas Air Conditioning Contractors Association has given financial support to students for Texas State Technical College in North Texas’ Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology program.
The Austin-based nonprofit trade association has given $10,000 to the HVAC program for scholarships and plans to contribute more money later this year. The money creates the TACCA Presidential Scholarship that will go to TSTC in North Texas HVAC students.
“Our organization has been a supporter of TSTC for years, and we have had numerous members of our board of directors that have sat on the HVAC programs at TSTC all across Texas,” said Todd McAlister, the association’s executive director.
Stephen Pape, executive director of student learning at TSTC, is an association board member.
“Air conditioning is a good industry for students who want to work with their hands and have a good mechanical aptitude,” Pape said. “You are not stuck behind a desk and you get outside. People are appreciative of your work. You get immediate feedback on the quality of your work.”
TSTC’s HVAC program began in fall 2014 and graduated its first students in 2016. There are more than 30 students in the program for the spring semester. The program teaches students to work in residential and commercial environments.
“What are we are trying to do is place students with contractors and get them some hands-on experience, and that means the upper-level students are taking more evening classes than they are during the day so they can work,” Pape said.
Texas had more than 21,000 heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and installers with an annual mean wage of $42,830 in May 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Woodlands-Houston-Sugar Land area had about 5,400 workers and the Dallas-Plano-Irving area had more than 3,800 employees in the field in May 2015, making them the areas with the largest concentration of HVAC workers in Texas, according to the labor statistics bureau.
The trade association was founded in 1969 and is made up of more than 500 members of the state’s HVAC industry. The group’s focus is on HVAC advocacy and education.
“Air conditioning is one of the most important items you need, whether it is residential or commercial,” McAlister said. “Unfortunately, our industry is one that has an aging workforce. The average age of an HVAC technician is 55. So, we need the younger generation to come into the industry, and obviously things like scholarships and other opportunities that help fund somebody is something we think is vital. It is important to have programs like TSTC as just one of the many avenues to get the younger people in our industry.”