I truly believe all our political leaders want to help. We would all like for everyone seeking employment to find it. There have been many attempts by government at all levels to pass legislation that would stimulate the economy and create jobs. Many of these programs focus on training people for jobs of the future. The problem is that it is very difficult to accurately predict the future and create truly new jobs, particularly in new and emerging technologies. I believe we would have more success investing our time and money training people for jobs that already exist, particularly in fields where industry growth exceeds the available workforce. HVACR is one such industry.
Jobs are available now for skilled HVACR technicians. Money spent in technical education prepares students for real jobs that we know exist, not jobs that we wished exist. Further, if you want new emerging technologies – train folks for commercial refrigeration. Commercial refrigeration is undergoing a major transformation involving new energy-smart, earth-wise technologies. So training people for a career in commercial refrigeration IS training for jobs of the future. The lack of qualified technicians is limiting HAVCR contractor’s growth, which limits the growth of the nation’s economy. Again, these job opportunities exist NOW.
Preparing people for a real job that pays real money makes them a contributing taxpayer. This means that the government gets the money back. Some HVACR students will be successful enough to start their own business. There are several in the Athens area who started as students at Athens Tech. One relatively small business with five employees can gross $1,000,000. That generates tax revenue of $150,000 at 15%. If those five employees are trained at Athens Tech, the cost of their training is less than one year’s tax revenue. Not all students will generate that kind of return, but even a student earning $12 an hour will likely pay back the cost of training in less than five years. For people who already have a job in HVACR, education makes them more productive and earns them more money. Increased productivity means a better bottom line for the government – more income to tax. It is not necessary to start new programs with new administrative costs; there are already programs and institutions in place with proven track records of training workers for skilled trades. All we have to do is support them.