A major labor union representing heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, and commercial refrigeration (HVACR) equipment installers and technicians has endorsed an industry-supported training program to increase the number of skilled HVACR industry workers.
"We are happy to partner with labor unions on technician training and certification," said Stephen Yurek, president of the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), the industry's trade association. "We are pleased that rigorous, industry-supported education, training and certification programs are now being recognized by labor as a key tool for increasing the number of skilled HVACR installers and technicians."
As part of the endorsement, the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada (UA), agreed to provide qualified technicians with advanced placement credit toward local unions' HVACR apprenticeship programs. The agreement was signed last month at the AHR Expo in New York City by Yurek; North American Technician Excellence (NATE) President Rex Boynton; Partnership for Air-conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) President Patrick Murphy, and UA's Director of Training Michael Arndt.
To obtain the advanced placement credit, which would allow an applicant to begin the labor union's program as a second-year apprentice, applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Completed a full-time program accredited by PAHRA and earned a "C" average or better.
- Achieved a passing grade on the industry-validated Industry Competency Exam (ICE) for residential heating and air conditioning, as well as for commercial heating and air conditioning or commercial refrigeration.
- Achieved NATE certification by passing the NATE Core Service test and the Heating Service Specialty, Cooling Service Specialty and Light Commercial Refrigeration Service Specialty exams.
NATE has found that consumers are demanding well trained and certified technicians. The organization's research shows that 84% of consumers who have used a NATE-certified technician would select the same contractor again and 67% said they were extremely satisfied with their heating and cooling system.
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