Elijah Blanchard, dean of trade programs for Education Corporation of America, enters a walk-in cooler at the new Virginia College Birmingham campus. (Michael Tomberlin/AL.com)
"The students will have top-notch training and be very employable," said Elijah Blanchard, the dean of trade programs for Virginia College and a state-certified contractor.
"I feel like we are going to have the best-trained students to come out of any program like this in Alabama."
The first class for the new program will start in January.
There will be a day class and a night class with up to 20 students possible for each.
At least 15 students have already enrolled in the inaugural program, Blanchard
"In the next 10 to 15 years, HVAC will be the fourth fastest growing career in the country," Blanchard
said, citing Bureau
of Labor Statistics data.
said graduates from the program can expect to earn between $12.50 and $37.50 per hour.
Elijah Blanchard, dean of trade programs at Education Corporation of America, discusses one of the newer heat pump models as part of the new HVAC program at Virginia College. (Michael Tomberlin/AL.com)
said they started with a blank piece of paper and developed the curriculum from scratch.
"Rising demand for trained HVAC-R technicians suggests excellent employment opportunities," said Blanchard