HVAC program forges local industry partnerships
Posted on 02/02/2021
Jae-Kwon Holloway

The HVAC program at the Poplar Bluff Technical Career Center has been receiving scrap equipment donations from businesses as inroads are being made to further align the curriculum with local industry standards.

Aire Solutions, B&T Heating & Cooling, Black River HVAC Services, S&L Heating & Air, and Cummings Real Estate have recently supplied split systems, PTAC units and a geothermal for students to break down in order to gain applicable practice.

“I try to replicate a real-world setting as much as possible,” said Dan Parker, HVAC instructor. “It’s a lot cheaper to break something that’s already been broken instead of buying new so students can use all the hand tools to tear it apart.”

Parker graduated at the top of the TCC’s HVAC class in 2013 and started teaching this school year after working in the field and later opening his own service, Need Air. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Missouri, and is presently working toward a master’s in career & technical education from the University of Central Missouri.

One of his first orders of business as an instructor was reaching out and inviting area heating and air company representatives to sit on his program advisory board, which he is still in the process of revising. “You gotta keep up with what the area wants; that is a different thing than the national industry,” he explained, adding that types of systems utilized in homes vary by region.

When the position became available at the TCC, Parker said his motivation in applying was to have a hand in getting younger people involved in the profession. “The reason I was interested in teaching is there is no one really under the age of 30 in the industry, even [employed] as helpers,” Parker observed.

Each of his seniors already have jobs lined up when they graduate in May, noted Parker, and he is actively recruiting adults and area high school students for the 2021/22 school year. “Because the customer, we exist,” is part of a mantra Parker emphasizes. Once a month, the students make popcorn and deliver it across campus to help improve their interpersonal communications.

Charles Kinsey, who pointed out that he took over as TCC director the year Parker graduated from the HVAC program as an adult student, commended Parker for establishing new partnerships with industry professionals whom he has witnessed swing by the classroom shop to help when a particular skill is being taught.

“Mr. Parker is trying to change the trajectory of an industry that I would say is historically ignored by people under the age of 30, and we’re starting to see the numbers rebound as younger folks are viewing the career in a different light,” Kinsey stated. “We’re excited about the new partnerships, including recent conversations with Three Rivers College, and are looking to continue to develop these types of relationships in all of our programs in any of our geographical areas.”

Enrollment into the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning program is now open through March. To learn more, contact the TCC at 573-785-2248.


Cutline: Jae-Kwon Holloway, a junior, is servicing an HVAC system under the instruction of Dan Parker.

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