LaGuardia Community College launches free training to expand clean energy workforce

LaGuardia Community College announces a partnership with Building Skills New York and Positive Workforce to offer free training for clean energy jobs. (Photo courtesy of LaGuardia Community College)

Building Skills New York, a nonprofit dedicated to helping historically unemployed New Yorkers gain the skills and certification necessary to enter and advance in the construction industry, is partnering with LaGuardia Community College and Positive Workforce, a minority construction advocacy organization, to provide industry-recognized, tuition-free training for in-demand clean energy jobs.

Approximately 75 underemployed and unemployed New Yorkers will receive training to become certified Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) technicians.

“The partnership with Building Skills New York will help New Yorkers eager to get trained quickly for jobs with family-sustaining wages, while also helping employers fill critical job shortages,” LaGuardia Community College President Kenneth Adams said. “Given the many people who lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, programs like this HVAC training program are vital for our communities. Participants will have full access to LaGuardia services, which help students address financial or personal hardships before they become an impediment to graduation. LaGuardia has been providing industry-recognized training in plumbing, electrical and other construction fields for many years.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for HVAC technicians is expected to increase by 15% by 2026.

“HVAC is a fast-growing focus of the construction industry, and job seekers with these critical skills have become even more in-demand as a result of the COVID-19 crisis,” Building Skills New York Executive Director David Meade said. “Our goal is twofold: To maximize employment opportunities for New Yorkers while also addressing an ongoing labor shortage that threatens to curtail economic recovery efforts.”

Training is just over 20 hours per week for 12 weeks, for a total of 225 hours. An industry-recognized HVAC certification curriculum from the National Center for Construction Education and Research is used. Participants receive professional career guidance.

Students learn the basic principles of HVAC and refrigeration. LEED construction, and energy management, and get introduced to air distribution systems. In addition, students learn about heat pumps and other cutting-edge clean technologies to prepare them for clean energy jobs.

“Training programs like this one are an important tool in helping to provide much-needed diversity in the construction workforce while also opening pathways to new opportunities for members of underserved communities,” Positive Workforce Executive Director Vinny Torres said. “The HVAC sector is growing and requires a highly technical skillset. Once a worker has this knowledge, it will open doors for career advancement and extend their longevity on the job, benefiting employees and employers alike.”

Due to ongoing pandemic-related restrictions, the course features both virtual and in-person instruction. All in-person classes take place at Positive Workforce’s state-of-the-art training facility in Harlem, with instruction led by LaGuardia Community College construction teachers, many of whom are working industry professionals.

Students who complete the training and pass the HVAC certification exam will receive job placement assistance, including help securing internships and apprenticeships from Positive Workforce.

Applicants must be age 18 or older, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and pass a basic reading and math assessment. To apply for cohorts starting in February and April, visit the Building Skills New York website here.