• November 19, 2019

HVAC, plumbing courses on tap for ECISD students - Odessa American: News

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HVAC, plumbing courses on tap for ECISD students

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Posted: Wednesday, August 28, 2019 6:15 pm

Ector County ISD students will have a chance to take heating and air conditioning and plumbing courses during the 2020-2021 school year.

Executive Director of Career and Technical Education Carla Byrne said it’s been a long time coming.

“We had HVAC and plumbing through OC and it was called the PACE program. That was many years ago — at least more than nine,” Byrne said.

The PACE in PACE Academy stood for plumbing, air conditioning and electricity.

“It was held at OC and some of the high school kids participated in it. The program dissolved. … In the last probably three, four years there’s been an increase in requests for ECISD … to hold a program for both HVAC and plumbing. We just haven’t had the ability to do that because we don’t have any space, so collaborating with OC has been really terrific,” Byrne said.

Although there is demand for the courses, it’s hard to find instructors.

 “… They’re really terrific partners for us and we partner with them for many different dual credit academies, so it just makes perfect sense to continue to do that and grow our partnership. Fortunately, OC posted the positions for both plumbing and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and they were able to hire someone for HVAC. They still haven’t hired anyone for plumbing, so we … need a plumber to offer to, or be willing, to teach the courses at OC. We have a lot of requests from the plumbing and HVAC industry to try to fill the gap in this aging workforce that we have,” she added.

Regardless, Byrne said ECISD will put HVAC and plumbing as two separate programs on the course card this year for current 10th graders to choose from.

“… When they go into their junior year, they can be in HVAC or plumbing, so it will be a junior-senior year program like most of our academies with the goal being that their senior year — much of it — will be spent in worked-based learning … shadowing actual HVAC technicians and plumbers in our community,” Byrne said.

The district and the community both have a shortage of people in those professions.  

“I’m hoping that the district and Odessa College, that our partnership will help to alleviate that problem so we’re excited to offer it. I’m really pumped that they were able to hire an HVAC technician to teach and so quickly,” Byrne said.

“We’re not giving up on plumbing,” she added. “We still have a whole school year and a summer to get someone in that position, so we’re just excited to offer it to kids. We’ll bus them out to the college like we do for the academy in LVN (licensed vocational nurse). All of their tuition and textbook fees are covered 100 percent by the CTE department.”

As a member of the Permian Basin Workforce Development Board, Byrne said, every year both of the careers have been on the targeted occupations list for the Permian Basin.

“And I don’t anticipate these occupations coming off of that list anytime soon,” Byrne said.

As of the first quarter of 2019, total employment for plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters in the Permian Basin was 1,228. Over the past three years, this occupation has added 232 jobs in the region and is expected to increase by 2987 jobs over the next seven years, or at an annual average rate of 3 percent, information from Workforce Solutions Permian Basin.

During the same period (first quarter of 2019) for heating, air conditioning, refrigeration mechanics and installers in the Permian Basin total employment was 515.

Over the past three years, this occupation added one job in the region and is expected to increase by 100 jobs over the next seven years, or at an annual average rate of 2.6 percent, the Workforce Solutions information said.

Executive Director of Guidance and Counseling Nancy Vanley said the occupations are highly needed in the community.

“The students will benefit greatly by earning dual credit and working toward certifications,” Vanley said in a text message.

She added that she hopes they will be popular classes.

“We are excited about this opportunity for our students. We will be including the information to students and parents during educational planning for 2020-21,” Vanley said.

She added that they have looked at learning outcomes for the HVAC and plumbing programs at Odessa College and the outcomes for those programs on the Texas Education Agency website and “there’s a great match.”

“Right now we’re just working on delineating each of the courses so our kids will be getting college credit for these programs. Educational planning takes place so early in the school year so we have to have everything delineated and on the course card by October. Then typically, they talk to sophomores around late December-early January,” Byrne said.

“… Meanwhile, we’re tasked from now until the day the counselors are in front of those kiddoes with how do we go about spreading the word about (how) this really awesome opportunity for kids,” she said. “We’ll be sending out mail outs to all current sophomores with some industry data … and then of course just letting them know this program’s here and that tuition and textbooks are covered by the CTE department and to visit with your CTE counselor about your desire to take this. We’re going to have a very push on marketing this program, along with the all the others that we have but because this one’s brand new we’re going to do an extra push,” she added.  


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