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Reports estimate 100,000 new HVACR mechanics and installers needed in next 7 years

By Brianna Crandall, September 28, 2015—The HVACR Workforce Development Foundation, of which global building technology society ASHRAE is a member, released three new reports and an accompanying executive summary confirming that demand outstrips the current and near-future supply of heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, and refrigeration (HVACR) employees. In particular, mechanics and installers are in critical shortage in most areas of the nation.

Due to the increased growth in the sector and the ongoing retirement of Baby Boomers, HVACR programs in technical and community colleges are not filling the seats available to meet the current and anticipated demand, according to the group. HVACR employers are having a difficult time filling positions, especially for refrigeration and HVAC technicians, respectively 44 and 36 days longer than the national average of 29 days for similar positions.

The three reports highlight the need for many more HVACR mechanics and installers as the sector grows and Baby Boomers retire.

"HVACR programs in the U.S. and Canada are seeking new students, whether you are a recent high school graduate, veteran, or second-career adult," said Kari M. Arfstrom, executive director of the HVACR Foundation. "With HVACR certifications or an associate's degree, new employees can be assured of a solid middle-class job that cannot be off-shored, is high tech, and offers better-than-average pay."

Almost half of all mechanics and installers will retire in the next decade according to the new research, but post-secondary HVACR programs are not filling the seats needed to support these jobs. The reports detail the opportunities available for HVACR workers and address the unique issues constraining the pipeline for these roles. Concluding the analysis of supply and demand is the introduction of a North American Plan to reduce the employment gap.

An executive summary of the three reports, "The HVACR Workforce: Demand Heats Up as Supply Melts Away," is available on the HVACR Foundation's Web site.

The summary is based on the three commissioned reports:

  • "The Next Generation of HVACR Installers and Technicians: What instructors are saying and what needs to be done," the first-ever survey of instructors in HVACR programs in the USA and Canada;

  • "Heating up: The Sweltering Demand for Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Workers," prepared by Burning Glass Technologies; and

  • "A Labour Market Investigation of the HVACR Sector in Canada," by Prism Economics and Analysis.

The HVACR Workforce Development Foundation is dedicated to leading an industry effort to develop and promote educational projects, programs, and partnerships to attract committed and skilled employees to a career in HVACR. For more information, including the eight funding organizations, visit the organization's Web site.

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