BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - If your air conditioner breaks, you might be waiting a while on a repairman.
Industry leaders report there is a critical shortage for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) technicians and now a local community college is stepping up to meet the need.
It's not uncommon to see air conditioning techs hard at work during the summer months. In Louisiana, it's a year 'round job.
If you think about it, we have worn shorts in Louisiana at Christmas time," says Carlton Gordon, a supervisor with Star Industries.
He says the calls coming into the shop are not slowing down. He says, now more than ever, he could use a lot more people on his staff who are certified in heating, ventilation and air conditioning, or HVAC.
"We can't keep up with the need. It's so big that we don't have enough supply of incoming people to take the place of people who are retiring," Gordon says.
The folks over at Baton Rouge Community College started offering the certification three years ago. But executive director for workforce education at the school, Girard Melancon, says the demand for techs has gotten so big, BRCC is adding an evening class to its schedule. Melancon says the industry outlook is off the charts.
"But the students got to bring their best forward," Melancon says. "That means working well with each other, showing up on time and not being afraid to get sweaty and dirty but the earning potential is huge for the benefit of the training."
BRCC is offering a 20-month program. The pay is an estimated $15 to $20 dollars an hour for starters.
Gordon will be teaching the new class. He says math skills are a plus, but they are not a must. In fact, he says, the best technique techs can bring to the table is good communication skills.
"Just to be able to listen, to talk to someone, understand when people call you they are not calling you to be friendly, they are calling you to cause they upset," Gordon says. "It's not personal they are just hot."
Officials say classes begin next week. For more information, visit their website.