Dual Enrollment Partnership Gives Students Competitive Edge

In a partnership with the Bartow County School System, Chattahoochee Technical College is now offering Air Conditioning Technology classes at the Bartow County College and Career Academy (BCCCA). The program has been rolled out for the fall 2016 term and is open to any and all students who meet admissions requirements for the Air Conditioning Technology (AIRC) program.

“One of the goals of the Bartow County College and Career Academy is to partner with local business, industry and post-secondary institutions to ensure the availability of a viable workforce along with continued opportunities for Bartow County students. We feel strongly that the AIRC program meets our goal and will help prepare our students to fill local employment opportunities upon graduation,” said BCCCA Board of Directors Chair Janet Queen.

While the college has been offering core classes at the BCCCA for about three years, opening the Air Conditioning Technology program to Move on When Ready students gives the high school population an opportunity to get hands-on training while working alongside traditional adult students in a shared lab.

“We at the Bartow County School System are thrilled to partner with Chattahoochee Technical College in bringing the AIRC program to our Bartow County College and Career Academy,” said Dr. Greg Doss, coordinator of Career Technical and Agriculture Education.  “The program offers our students the ability to not only graduate high school but also to be equipped with a college diploma and valuable job training. Our focus at Bartow County School System is to ensure our students are prepared to enter the next phase of their life with employable skills, so the AIRC program is a wonderful addition to our career-focused programs.”

The Air Conditioning Technology program teaches students how to install, maintain, diagnose and repair heating, ventilation, cooling and refrigeration systems that control the air quality in a wide variety of situations (from large industrial buildings to smaller residential spaces). According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average annual salary for heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers is about $45,110 per year.

Air Conditioning Technology instructor Joe Esposito looks on as student Cheyanne Head gathers a reading from an AC unit in the AIRC lab.

Air Conditioning Technology instructor Joe Esposito looks on as student Cheyanne Head gathers a reading from an AC unit in the AIRC lab.

Air Conditioning Technology students at the BCCCA will follow mini terms and courses offered include refrigeration fundamentals, refrigeration principles and practices, and refrigeration systems components. The program is designed to take 64 weeks to complete.

“Until students know the competencies of refrigeration fundamentals as well as receive hands-on training with refrigeration tools, piping and recovery of coolant, they are not installing, testing or servicing major components of a refrigeration system,” CTC Vice President of Academic Affairs Jason Tanner said.

The benefit for Bartow County Move on When Ready students going through this program is that they will be taught basic principles and fundamentals so that they are prepared when they enter the workforce, said Instructor Joe Esposito.

“Not all students who graduate from high school are going to move on to a four-year university. This program is a great opportunity for high school students to graduate with a diploma and enter the work field,” Esposito said.

Esposito said the community will also benefit from this partnership, as well.

“The benefit is also to the community, as students will be able to enter the workforce, apply their skills and, beyond that, the community will be served by the companies who hire them,” he said.

One Bartow County business owner has taken it upon himself to ensure these students are on a path toward a brighter future. Heatco CEO Rob Hankinson recently donated toolsets to each student enrolled in the program.

“We are asking the students to take a chance at a brand new alternate career path. Starting with professional level tools assures each student we are serious about their success,” Hankinson said. “In my career, I have been so blessed by the HVAC marketplace, and it is time to give back and offer these students a viable and exciting alternative to the traditional four-year college route with its debt load and uncertain job placements.”

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