Programmatic accreditation is an independent third-party review of an educational program. The process validates that established standards of excellence are met, which assures employers that graduates are properly trained and ready to work.
Members from HVAC Excellence, a non-profit established in 1999 to create programmatic accreditation for the HVAC industry, visited the Alexandria Main Campus in September. The review included a thorough examination of program mission, administrational responsibilities, finances and funds, student services, instruction design and program elements, physical facilities, equipment and tools, cooperative training and instructor qualifications.
“We sought this voluntary accreditation to demonstrate our commitment to excellence and increase enrollment, as the HVAC industry is struggling to find qualified workers, according to labor statistics,” said Jimmy Sawtelle, CLTCC Chancellor. “Knowing that you’re enrolled in a program that has the ‘seal of approval’ from industry will help with recruiting and hiring once students complete the program.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the HVAC industry is projected to grow 14 percent from 2014 to 2024. Opportunities are expected to be even better for those who have completed training at an accredited technical school or through an apprenticeship.
CLTCC credits the work of its Academic Affairs department and support from The Rapides Foundation and ACA Mechanical/Industrial, LLC, for its new HVAC Excellence accreditation. In December 2015, CLTCC received a grant from The Rapides Foundation to train installers and technicians in Central Louisiana on Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology, a relatively new, efficient heating and cooling system. The training was funded in part by a Workforce Opportunity Grant from the Foundation. A part of its Economic Development Initiative, the Foundation’s Workforce Opportunity Grant promotes partnerships between Cenla businesses and accredited public, postsecondary institutions to support training programs for higher-income occupations for which there is demonstrated, unmet employer demand in the nine-parish area served by the Foundation.
CLTCC partnered with ACA Mechanical, a local HVAC service provider, to train a cohort of ACA technicians on VRF technology. Today, the VRF training is not only for ACA employees but for students of CLTCC and other companies who may need this training.
“The HVAC/Variable Refrigerant Flow Systems training resulting from the partnership between CLTCC and ACA Mechanical is an example of how a local employer demonstrated a need for technical training for their current employees and future hires, and then worked with a local college to find a way to bring the training to Central Louisiana through our Workforce Opportunity Grant,” said Joe Rosier, President and CEO of The Rapides Foundation. “Achievement of Programmatic Accreditation of the training program provides a great opportunity for current and future CLTCC students to complete training that will provide them with skills to seek a higher-wage job, which will give them the means to purchase medical insurance, make better healthcare choices and live healthier lifestyles.”
“The relationship between ACA and CLTCC has been strengthened because of The Rapides Foundation’s Workforce Opportunity Grant,” said Robert Taylor, Division Manager, ACA Mechanical/Industrial, LLC. “The grant has enabled our two organizations to forge significant relationships between our employees and CLTCC instructors, enhancing our performance in VRF technology. ACA is excited about the accreditation of our partner institution and look forward to many years of business development ventures together.”
Central Louisiana Technical Community College (CLTCC) is a two-year technical and community college offering associate degrees, technical diplomas, industry certificates, and customized training in more than 20 disciplines to support local workforce development and prepare students for good-paying jobs. CLTCC serves nine parishes in Central Louisiana through its seven locations and provides instruction in three state prisons and two federal correctional institutions. For more information, visit www.cltcc.edu.