McCann Principal Justin Kratz provides the committee with background on state requirements for the HVAC program and preliminary renderings of how the HVAC building may look.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — After getting a grant from the state worth more than $3.1 million, McCann Technical School has already begun setting up its new heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration program.
“There’s a whole lot of fun parts of this, daunting yet it may be. But it’s such an exciting thing to do,” Superintendent James Brosnan told the school committee on Monday.
The committee approved the program at its meeting Monday and authorized Brosnan to seek engineering help for the proposed 5,580 square-foot HVAC building. The program would provide training to an estimated 100 students each year.
“I don’t know if anybody’s had any HVAC work done on their house recently, but they’re in incredibly high demand,” said Principal Justin Kratz. “The annual mean wage is $64 grand, so this is a field that our kids can certainly go out and be successful and secure a solid living for themselves after high school, which is, obviously, one of our biggest missions here at the school.”
Kratz provided the committee with background on state requirements for the program and preliminary renderings of how the HVAC building may look. The program, he said, will take full advantage of the space they are planning.
“A lot of HVAC units are obviously outside; the main condenser or the power source, and heat and cooling is provided inside. So an HVAC shop has to have access to both inside and outside equipment that are connected together,” he said. “So that’s kind of an interesting twist in this particular program.”
Kratz said he does not anticipate any trouble filling the program with students. He highlighted a survey of more than 100 current McCann students, about 80 percent of whom said they would have been interested in HVAC had it been offered their first year.
Brosnan said HVAC is one of the most in-demand fields in Berkshire County, which should help students in the program and local employers. Currently there is no HVAC technician training program in the county, and the Berkshire County Workforce blueprint identified HVAC as a critical workforce need.
“We looked at a program that has a lot of career advancement, good salary levels to start out and continue on,” he said when asked why the school chose HVAC as a new program. “Another one is, there isn’t another program in the county … In the last 15 years or so, I have gotten more request for HVAC than any other.”
In other business, the committee discussed an adult basic education program partnership with North Adams Public Schools. Students in the program will get academic education from North Adams, while McCann will offer vocational training.
“We’re really thrilled to do this. We’ve been talking about this for a number years,” Brosnan said. The program, he said, will begin in January. “… We’ve been looking at trying to do this. And it’s a really good way of helping people get into the economy, as well as get their high school diploma.”
- The committee approved a request for proposals from Hill Engineering for work to re-engineer parking spaces on the west side of the building. Brosnan said this work should increase the number of spaces.