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January 10, 2012

IT'S HOT, IT'S COOL: Ivy Tech launches first HVAC Institute in state

JEFFERSONVILLE — Josh Hammond has an interest in learning all about HVAC — Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning — systems in the hopes of one day landing a job in the business.

Ivy Tech had exactly what he was looking for.

Not only did Ivy Tech Community College Southern Indiana in Sellersburg welcome back students on the first day of the spring semester Monday, it also launched a new program at its satellite location in Jeffersonville’s Industrial Park. The Ivy Tech HVAC Institute began a 30-week, five-days-a-week program, the first of its kind in the state. There is a welding institute in Terre Haute, Muncie and Richmond, and a machine tool technology institute offered in Indianapolis and South Bend.

“It’s something I planned on going into the work force [for] once I get out of the program,” said Hammond, 18, a Charlestown resident. “This sounded like a pretty good gig for me. I will be able to go right into the work force when I finish.”

Each class lasts six hours each day, and once students complete the course, they will be able to take up to five exams for industry certifications. The class is taught by Buck Skirvin, who has 27 years experience in the field. Skirvin said there is a demand for certified HVAC professionals.

“There was a study that showed there will be 100,000 HVAC professionals needed nationwide,” Skirvin said. “The technology is constantly changing so you have to stay on top of it.”

HVAC employment is expected to grow 28 percent in the next decade, according to a release from Ivy Tech.

Terry Nolot, vice chancellor for enrollment services at Ivy Tech, said a study to see the need for a HVAC program in the area was completed before it was put in place. Skirvin said as many as 15 students could wind up in the inaugural class.

“We looked at work force trends and there looked to be a need for HVAC technicians,” Nolot said.

Skirvin didn’t waste any time getting down to business. He said it will be an intense 30 weeks to make sure all categories are covered before students take their certification exams. The program is “technology” focused with math, reading and writing embedded programmable thermostats, schematic and pictorial wiring, circuit structure compressors and condensers, along with basic refrigeration covered.

“We’re going for it. We covered a lot today already,” Skirvin said with a laugh.

He said candidates were interviewed before being accepted into the program. He said it helps if they are mechanically inclined, not afraid of heights or to work with electricity.

Besides the classroom, there is a large work area in the complex where students will be able to work on HVAC units of every size. All of the technology-based classes are held at the Jeffersonville Industrial Park location, of Charlestown-New Albany Pike, which will dedicated in the spring to Paul Perkins, president of Amatrol for all of support to the college over the years. The building had been leased prior to Ivy Tech purchasing it this year.

“It’s perfect for our technology classes,” Nolot said of the space for hands-on activity.

Once they complete the course, students can either enter the work force or use the credits toward an associate degree or technical certification at Ivy Tech.

“It’s all pretty intimidating today, but I think it will grow from here,” Skirvin said.

Nolot said officials figures will be available in two weeks, but he expects another semester of record enrollment at Ivy Tech Southern Indiana campus in Sellersburg of more than 5,700 students.

For more information about Ivy Tech call 812-246-3301 or go to www.ivytech.edu

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Students who attended the Renaissance Academy's Culture Camp lead other students in an exercise, brainstorming thoughts, fears and opinions of the new learning style and school. The Academy is largely based on projects, working in groups and hands-on education.

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