Richmond Community College begins a new program in Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Technology beginning in August to train more people to install, maintain, and repair residential and commercial climate control systems. Students have the option of earning a certificate in two semesters or an associate in applied science degree in four semesters. The program is pending final approval from the State Board of the N.C. Community College System.
“The new program is a great fit for RCC and will help us meet the regional needs for skilled technicians in a challenging and evolving field,” said RCC President Dr. Dale McInnis. “It will be one of the anchor programs of the new Honeycutt Center in Laurinburg. Energy efficiency and sustainability are key components of this program.”
RCC Vice President for Instruction Johnnie Simpson said the new program is fully equipped thanks to funding from a federal grant.
“The instructional area has 1,200 square feet dedicated to the air conditioning, heating and refrigeration laboratories. Students will also study geothermal technology,” said Simpson.
Larry Pryce of Rockingham works with RCC’s Maintenance Department and plans to enroll in several of the courses. He said the college has numerous chillers, gas packs, and heat pumps to troubleshoot and maintain. He also does plumbing, carpentry, masonry, and wiring installation and repairs.
“I’ve been doing this kind of work since 1976. Technology has changed so much over the years. I earned a degree in Industrial Maintenance several years ago, but today, everything runs off of circuit boards. I know a lot, but you’re never too old to learn something new. I’d like to study it in depth and be able to apply it on the job,” said Pryce.
Pryce feels jobs in the technical trades are going to be among the first to bounce back in today’s economy. He said if you are willing to work, you can find a job in mechanical, electrical, and construction fields.
Larry Bullard, vice president of Scholl Mechanical Company in Rockingham, thinks it is a great opportunity for a young person to learn a skilled trade.
“I think this program will benefit all companies in our communities that deal with heating and air conditioning systems. As an employer, we look for people with experience and with an educational background in the specific trades. We would be more apt to hire a person who has been trained over someone who has no knowledge base,” said Bullard.
Persons interested in the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Technology program should contact a counselor by calling 410-1730.