CLEBURNE, Texas — The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that job growth for technicians in the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration industry will increase by 21 percent, nearly double the average growth for their projection of all occupations (2012 through 2022).
Hill College, serving Hill, Johnson, Bosque and Somervell counties, and Trane, a global provider of indoor comfort solutions and services and a brand of Ingersoll Rand, recently held a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Hill College Cleburne Technical Center to unveil the historic Walls building at 319 East Henderson St., Cleburne, Texas, which will house spaces for the new laboratory facilities. The new HVAC laboratories will help prepare students to meet the need for skilled technicians.
Filling the talent pipeline with highly skilled technicians who understand the latest systems and controls is critical to maintaining and optimizing HVACR systems. These systems play an important role in energy efficiency, sustainability and building operations, which can significantly impact the bottom line. According to Energy Star, energy is the largest single operating expense for most buildings, accounting for about one-third of a typical facility’s operating budget.
During the ribbon cutting ceremony, the Cleburne Industrial Alliance Council honored the college with a Community Improvement award for the historic restoration of the former home of Walls Industries, a 70-year-old provider of work wear and sporting goods that was acquired by Williamson-Dick Manufacturing Co. in 2013. The three new laboratories will be located on the ground floor of the Walls Building and the second floor will house 16 classrooms.
Leaders from Trane and Hill College designed the new facilities in collaboration with the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3). NC3 is a nonprofit organization which develops, implements and sustains industry-recognized certifications. Graduates of the Hill College technician program will receive their final certification from NC3. Trane, Hill College and NC3 leaders worked hand-in-hand on the college’s HVAC program to ensure that it meets the latest industry-required levels. NC3 also is training the educators who will teach the curriculum offered in the new laboratories.
The three new 3,000-square-foot laboratories on campus will feature the latest HVAC solutions and controls to enable Hill College to achieve its goal of advancing career and technical training by offering state-of-the-art working HVAC labs to improve desired outcomes for graduates. HVAC classes are expected to begin fall of 2016 at the Cleburne campus and each of the three laboratories will offer a different training environment, including residential HVAC, light commercial HVAC and building controls.
Trane also is donating two water source heat pumps to the new residential laboratory. The water source heat pumps, which feature variable speed drives and variable speed fans, represent leading-edge technology which enables students to learn using some of the latest HVAC solutions.