The Workforce Challenge
Our industry generates 4 billion dollars in the economy annually. That’s huge. And yet, for at least the last twenty years, having enough technicians to perform the work has been an extreme challenge. And it’s only getting worse, as 50% of our entire workforce is expected to retire in the next ten years. There are simply too many empty seats in HVAC classrooms. Indeed, 60% of instructors report that their programs are under-enrolled.
By now many of you have heard of the “Ride and Decide” program. At our most recent convention, the founder of R&D, Gordy Noe, owner of Pioneer Heating and Air of Knox County Tennessee, had a session on the merits of the program. Last year a pilot program was rolled out in the Myrtle Beach area, with 50 students initially signing up. 22 were placed with 8 contractor members. There continues to be much excitement and enthusiasm with the program among high school counselors, students, parents, and employers.
If you grew up in the trades, it was natural that you would ride along on the truck and learn what the job was all about. Kids who don’t have that exposure aren’t likely to even think about the trades as a career path. That’s where the Ride and Decide program comes in. Ride and Decide is a program designed for high school juniors and seniors looking to explore skilled trades. Participating students work during summer breaks, are paid competitive wages for on-the-job training, and learn first-hand what a skilled trade jobs entail. All of which helps them make informed decisions about their career paths.
SCAHACC is providing help contractor members statewide to develop a continuous talent pipeline through a new partnership with Tallo. (Previously STEM Premier) An online platform, Tallo has one goal: connect talent with opportunities. 70,000 High School students in South Carolina use Tallo to build a digital profile and figure out the next step that’s right for them. It’s like LinkedIn for High School kids. Companies and schools around the state communicate with these students on Tallo. In order to bring these potential talent opportunities to you, SCAHACC now has a relationship with Tallo.
There are two opportunities:
- SCAHACC can provide you with a list of students in your area that are on the Tallo platform. Contractor members can also, and should, create a profile on Tallo.
- For an investment, SCAHACC members can decide to join Tallo directly, and receive 15% off the membership cost of $3000. Joining Tallo will provide a company with the ability to talk to students directly through the online platform.
How It Works
Click the video image for a Ride and Decide Demo from Tallo.
In early April, the folks at Tallo blasted out the first notice to all the students here in South Carolina announcing the opportunity that the Ride and Decide program will bring to them. There is a form for the student to sign up, letting the Tallo people know that they are interested. Our association will then have access to that list and be able to distribute as needed.
If you are interested in hiring one or several of these kids, you will simply request a list of students in your area, sign a confidentiality agreement, interview as normal, and put them to work. It’s really that simple.
What does the student get?
- The knowledge and experience that comes from riding with a seasoned HVAC tech.
- A chance to experience a potential career that may be great for them.
- A summer job more interesting than McDonald’s and one that pays better too. It’s like a paid internship.
- Hands-on experience in the trades.
- A short track to a great career.
What do you, the employer, get?
- We get helpers for our guys at the busiest time of the year.
- We get potential future mechanics that are trained and familiar with our company.
- We get potential tax credits.
- With the help of some government programs, the possibility to work the kid for free for a while.
- We raise our own professionalism.
- We get renewed invigoration for our own jobs. After you’ve been doing this job for decades it may not seem cool anymore. But working with someone younger and eager to learn will reinvigorate our experienced techs. Someone seeing this job for the first time will see everything we do as amazing and experienced HVAC guys should be eager to share their knowledge. It’s like growing up in a house with a beautiful view. You may get used to it and don’t notice how spectacular it is until someone comes over and sees it for the first time.
How Do You Get Started
- As a member of SCAHACC, you already have a jump start on the program.
- Sign the linked confidentiality agreement and return to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- SCAHACC will then send you a list of students in your area that you can contact.
- SCAHACC will also promote Ride and Decide to the students and will send you the contact information for students interested in the program.
Apprenticeship programs that begin the summer preceding or fall of a high school student’s junior year may be eligible for a $1,000 South Carolina state income tax credit per apprentice, per year for up to four years. Apprenticeship Carolina consultants can help SCAHACC members register with the Department of Labor and ensure all requirements for the tax credit are met.