New pre-apprenticeship course gives prospective plumbing, HVAC workers timely glimpse into program, career

Adding to its toolbox of targeted solutions to address the critical worker shortage facing the plumbing-heating-cooling industry, the PHCC Educational Foundation debuts an HVAC & Plumbing Pre-Apprenticeship Course, giving potential workers an opportunity to learn about the day-to-day aspects of the trades before beginning a longer-term apprentice program and eventual career.

Available online, prospective apprentices can take the course at their convenience, using six thematically-focused modules that offer an introduction to the trades plus other important aspects of working in the industry, such as basic math skills, tools, safety, and construction drawings. "This broad introductory program is a perfect way for potential employees to get a glimpse of how they can succeed in our industry," said Merry Beth Hall, the foundation's director of apprentice and journeyman training.

Offering this new course, Halls said, gives the Foundation a chance to work with employment centers and schools, as well as with contractors, to provide potential industry workers with a realistic view of the opportunities in the industry and the skills those workers need. For an employer, taking on an apprentice is a big investment in that individual's future. That financial commitment, the Foundation believes, is best made when the prospective apprentice understands the expectations and has the fundamental knowledge and skills for the trade.

To develop the course, the Foundation worked closely with many volunteers and organizations dedicated to apprentice and journeyman training, including Dr. Adam Manley from Western Michigan University, an instructional expert in career and technical education. Also, two PHCC member companies - Modern Plumbing Industries in Winter Springs, Florida, and Thornton & Grooms, Inc. in Farmington Hills, Michigan - opened their offices and construction sites to contribute dynamic film footage to the course content.

"I cannot imagine a better tool to be available for our members," said PHCC Member Laurie Crigler of L&D Associates in Aroda, Va., after previewing the course. "This is a great tool not only for those applying for jobs who say they have a certain level of expertise but for anyone actually considering entering the apprenticeship program ... it gives a great overview of what they should expect to learn in apprenticeship."

In addition, the course presents an opportunity for prospective employees, office staff who need more industry knowledge and new employees working for wholesalers to learn more about the p-h-c industry.

To register for the online course, visit the HVAC & Plumbing Pre-Apprenticeship Course web page for an enrollment form. Once registered, enrollees may take the course at their convenience. The fee is $59 for PHCC members and $79 for non-members.

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