Magazine article Techniques

Hand in Hand: Competency and Recruitment

Magazine article Techniques

Hand in Hand: Competency and Recruitment

Article excerpt

Attracting and retaining competent workers in applied technology careers is a challenge that is not so easily resolved. Many industries are meeting this challenge by developing competency and recruitment programs to appeal to the finite pool of potential skilled workers.

In recent years, the two recurring issues of competency and recruitment of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) technicians have put the spotlight on the technician workforce. The goal for every HVACR technician to install, service and troubleshoot stationary equipment according to manufacturer specifications the first time out is not just a nice dream-it can be reality. The Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) has developed and participates in several programs to achieve competency for new and incumbent technicians as well as to recruit them into the industry.

ARI is the national trade association representing manufacturers of more than 90 percent of North-Americanproduced central air conditioning and commercial refrigeration products, and is located in Arlington, Va., across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.

ARI has designed the following programs to help ensure the competency of technicians.

The Industry Competency Exams (ICE) were developed in 1987 to measure entry-level skills of basic competency. Three distinct ICE exams emphasize Residential Air Conditioning and Heating, Light Commercial Air Conditioning and Heating, and Commercial Refrigeration. Annually, a test construction committee, comprised of manufacturers, contractors, technicians and wholesalers, verifies each question for validity and reliability. ICE is supported by each of the major industry sector associations.

HVACR programs can crosswalk their curriculum to that of industry standards by using ARI's Curriculum Guide. Students in programs using the Curriculum Guide would have all the necessary skills to perform well on ICE.

HVACR programs requiring student participation in ICE are eligible to receive donated lab equipment from ARI members.

HVACR instructors can participate in a free annual HVACR instructor workshop highlighting the latest industry trends and best practices.

Several programs define a rewarding career in the HVACR industry, and 13 HVACR associations, including ARI, have united to form the Career Education Coalition (CEC) to work on recruitment by:

* developing a Web site located at www. …

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