The HVAC/R industry has been experiencing a steady decline in the educated and skilled workforce alongside a low number of potential employees willing to receive training in this field. On the other hand, the lack of prominent awareness programs that would showcase the potential of the heating and air conditioning industry has left young people unaware of their ability to pursue a lucrative career in the HVAC/R field.
Combined, these trends have created a perfect and seemingly never-ending storm of insufficient HVAC/R employees. It is for this very reason that the Gustave A. Larson Company has decided to partner with GPS Education Partners.
We have created an intermediary WBL, or work-based learning program designed to present job prospects in this field, explain the benefits of pursuing a career in HVAC, and present them with ample exploration opportunities that allow for first-hand experience of what working in this field will be like.
Exploration & awareness activities
The Gustave A. Larson Company has searched for an experienced partner for developing a specialized work-based learning program for career awareness and exploration within the HVAC/R industry. We wanted a company capable of offering a scalable platform suitable for helping minimize the workforce shortage problems in the industry for both our company and our select partners.
GPS Education Partners manages to deliver a unique program designed to go through several stages created for properly showcasing all the current and future potential of the HVAC/R industry. This includes a wide range of awareness and exploration activities meant to inspire young adults to try their hand in the heating and air conditioning industry.
To better understand what this WBL program entails and precisely which opportunities students will have a chance to participate in, it’s important to explore each of these program staples individually.
The details of the work-based learning program
The program we developed alongside GPS Education Partners gives students the opportunity to explore the world of HVAC/R and participate in a series of coordinated sequenced activities meant to inspire their involvement in this field.
It comprehensively addresses all the goals and challenges both the employers and the educators share when it comes to preparing their students and workers for a career in HVAC/R and providing them the skills and the knowledge to succeed and develop productive careers.
Together, we have created a WBL program that rests on the ideals of continual improvement and positive career outcome and development for all participants. This program is career-oriented, portable, adaptable, equitable, and accountable.
Career awareness activities
The first step in this work-based learning program is raising student awareness to the prospect of a career in HVAC/R. Students will participate in a wide range of activities designed to showcase the opportunities this industry offers, including:
Taking worksite tours
Visiting career fairs
Listening to guest speakers
Visiting their parents at work if they are members of the HVAC/R industry
Organizing careers in the classroom days
Developing interest inventories
Performing aptitude assessments
Developing community projects
By participating in these activities, all three parties involved will experience numerous advantages:
Benefits for the students: Discovering their potential interests and passions for the heating and air conditioning industry and relating those interests to attainable careers.
Benefits for the schools: Igniting the sense of purpose with their students by establishing a positive relationship between work and school with real-world interactions.
Benefits for the employers: Demonstrating the impact of working in the HVAC/R industry on the community and increasing awareness of careers in this field.
Career exploration activities
As students become more familiar and aware of career prospects in the heating and air conditioning industry, they will begin to further explore their opportunities for professional engagement and development. They will do so through:
Participating in career fairs
Developing industry projects
Being part of mock interviews
Job shadowing opportunities
Taking company tours
Participating in mentoring programs
Taking part in simulations
This kind of approach to career exploration brings the following benefits to students, schools, and employers participating in the program:
Benefits for the students: Exploring multiple pathways for career development and creating a fully data-driven career and employment plan.
Benefits for the schools: Increasing student interest in academic development through participation in various work-based activities that require in-depth knowledge.
Benefits for the employers: Aligning student’s aptitudes and interests with existing job opportunities to ensure their skills meet employers' requirements.
Positive program experiences
It is evident that many high school students don’t have a favorable perception of a career in the trades. However, positive experiences from our employer partners show that the program does work and that there is evidence that it’s only going to enhance industry awareness and exploration opportunities that will lead to industry employment and careers.
One of the best examples of a successful connection between employers, our program, and students is the thriving partnership between Gage Rosenbaum and Bay Area Services. Gage’s life was transformed after graduating the 2021 class of GPS. Gage found himself not motivated to pursue further education and careers that require another 4 years of college.
That’s why Gage loved being able to give his potential career in HVAC a “test drive” and see if it would be a good fit. Through GPS, he gained exposure to the industry and experience in it, and realized how beneficial a career in HVAC could be for him. At Bay Area Services, he received mentorship and continues to learn from his senior colleagues and grow as an HVAC/R technician.
This is another great example of a student successfully finding a career in the HVAC/R industry after joining the Industry Awareness Program. He joined our very own company and gained invaluable experience working in the industry. After a period of training at the Larson Company, Max happily accepted the position of HVAC technician at RJ Heating and Air Conditioning.
The Larson Company offers opportunities for exploring the potential of the HVAC industry
Together, the Larson Company and GPS Education Partners strive to highlight the opportunities for excellent career prospects in the heating and air conditioning industry. We’re attempting to mitigate the ongoing problem of insufficient educated workforce in the HVAC/R field by developing and implementing career awareness and exploration programs with the purpose of filling the gap of the aging experts.
The Larson Company & GPS Education Partners are constantly fine-tuning the work-based learning program and applying it across the Midwest, Plains, and Mountain states, where the Larson Company is the leading wholesale distributor of advanced heating and air conditioning systems, equipment, tools, and supplies. Through numerous awareness-raising and career-exploration opportunities, we hope to introduce young and talented professionals into a lucrative career. Contact us today to learn more about how this partnership can benefit you!