ACCA board approves major industry workforce
Arlington, VA - ACCA, the nation's largest association of indoor environment and energy service contractors, will convene its annual conference on March 16 in Grapevine, Texas at the Gaylord Texan. Prior to the conference, which is held in conjunction with IE3: The Indoor Environment & Energy Expo, ACCA's Board of Directors met on March 15 to finalize major new initiatives for 2015.
The association will launch a new workforce development program, IE3jobs.com, aimed at military veterans as well as students, and will also revamp its membership into an "open" platform without geographical chapter requirements.
According to David Kyle, 2014/2015 Chairman of the Board, contractors are facing labor shortages of potentially catastrophic proportions. "This isn't a surprise, it
hasn't crept on us," he says. "People were talking about labor shortages and workforce development 25, 30, 50 years ago. They're still talking about it today. I think the only way to address our challenge is to begin changing the way other people think about our industry – and maybe the way we think about our industry, too."
During his inaugural remarks in 2014, Kyle said that he believed the HVACR industry is better described as "the indoor environment and energy efficiency, or IE3,
industry." IE3 was originally coined by ACCA as a phrase to describe its media and event offerings, but Kyle found that when he used it to describe his company – as
being "IE3 experts" – he was met with great acceptance and interest from school guidance counselors, students, and military veterans.
"I truly believe that this is the right thing to do," Kyle says. "As the IE3 industry, we are high-tech, green – an exciting place to work. Whether we like it or not, HVAC sounds like box installers. IE3 sounds like service providers. I think the future belongs to service providers."
Kyle's company, Trademasters, provided an initial grant to ACCA to produce a series of online videos, one aimed at military veterans and one aimed at students, which
will be launched on YouTube later this month.
These videos will tie back into IE3jobs.com, a public service website dedicated to drawing new candidates into the contracting sector, which will launch next month.
The site will feature videos and offer a simple way for candidates to contact ACCA member companies who are offering on-the-job training or apprenticeship programs.
ACCA will be taking a particular interest in encouraging veterans to enter the IE3 industry. "I've hired many veterans and realized they are the perfect candidate pool
for our company and every other contractor out there," Kyle says. "Plus, we offer the perfect job opportunity for them -- a chance to make a difference in the world
by reducing energy usage, a chance to use their leadership expertise and hands-on skills, a chance that almost no other industry can offer them for great income
potential and overall life satisfaction."
Over the next year, ACCA will begin helping its members understand and use federal and state programs that support veterans transitioning to private jobs, and will be
promoting IE3 and contracting as the right career path for veterans.
"This is why ACCA exists," Kyle says, "to do the right thing for contractors, our country, and our world."
The ACCA Board also voted on Sunday, March 15 to change ACCA's membership structure. For the past fifteen years, in about half the country, ACCA's membership was closed except to members of affiliated state and local chapters.
Effective June 30, 2015, ACCA national membership will be open to all contractors nationwide, and will not include a requirement that contractors must belong to any
state or local chapter and will not include other associations' membership dues.
According to Phil London, who will take over as ACCA Chairman at the close of the 2015 conference, "It's been fifteen years since we took a long, hard look at ACCA
membership, and the world has changed a lot since then. What made sense in 2000 doesn't make sense now. Today the world is mobile, accessible, user-friendly and
24/7. And ACCA has over 100 different dues levels and there's no easy way to join us online! It just doesn't make sense."
He continues, "We actually spent the last three years looking at data, surveying members, and deciding how we can serve contractors in the most efficient way possible, while maintaining ACCA as the strong, respected organization it has become."
After June 30, state and local contracting associations will be able to control their own membership dues, enroll and renew members, and develop their own strategic
plans and benefits.
"We're independent contractors," London says. "We believe in local control. We understand the power of a brand. And we know that the free market works! Put those
three things together and you get our new membership plan. Let our independent associations, at all levels, earn membership by creating value for contractors. And
let the different associations collaborate where it makes sense for the purposes of national and state advocacy to benefit contractors, without any onerous membership
or financial requirements."
ACCA members who are in the affected areas will be hearing more from the association during the transition.
ACCA 2015 officially kicks off at 10am on March 16 at the Gaylord Texan. Stay tuned for additional news and updates at http://www.acca.org.
ACCA is the national non-profit organization serving the indoor environment and energy services community, including air conditioning, heating, refrigeration,
hydronics, and building performance contractors. Incorporated over 45 years ago, today ACCA's direct membership includes more than 60,000 professionals employed by more than 4,000 companies nationwide. Learn more at http://www.acca.org.