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HVAC-R Program An Even Cooler Career Move Now

CONTACT: Jeff Foley (518) 629-8085 or Dave Larkin (518) 629-7381
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Monday, August 28, 2000

Students enrolled in the Heating/Air Conditioning/Refrigeration Technical Services (HVAC-R) program at Hudson Valley Community College this year will benefit from $500,000 in renovations and $100,000 in new equipment. The HVAC-R program, which has been offered since Hudson Valley's inception in 1953, has moved its laboratories across campus, going from Higbee Hall to Williams Hall, and updated much of its equipment.

"This move will allow us to keep up with technology," said professor Dave Fuller. "Our students have always been highly sought after in the industry and we want to keep it that way."

With the move from Higbee to Williams Hall, the HVAC-R department increased its lab size from 4,000- to 6,500-square-feet. The new equipment includes multi-use machines that provide students with hands-on experience with compressors and evaporators, as well as electrical trouble-shooting simulators. In addition, there is a brand new video projection system that allows for audio-visual presentations on a 100-inch screen.

The renovation is part of the Capital Construction Project. It is funded by the State of New York (50%), Rensselaer County (25%) and Hudson Valley Community College (25%).

The HVAC-R program is a specialized two-year curriculum that prepares students for immediate employment upon graduation. Graduatesgenter the industry with a background in the design, installation and service of commercial and residential heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration systems. Students earn an Associate in Occupational Studies (AOS) degree.

"We approach a 100 percent job placement rate," Fuller said. "It's been that way since the start of the program, for 47 years now. This is a $175 billion industry and there are so many jobs out there."

HVAC-R students typically enter into the program with little or no experience. Classes are generally composed of recent high school graduates, military veterans and displaced workers seeking a new career.

While some students transfer to four-year schools after graduation, most gain employment immediately, earning $14 to $16 per hour. Salaries reach as much as $50,000 per year after five years in the field.

"A lot of people don't think about it until their heating or air conditioning units break down, but consider this; there's a unit in every building you see," Fuller said. "Our graduates don't just work on window units. Sometimes they work on units that are as big as a house.

So we've got engineering firms that come to Hudson Valley desperate for qualified technicians. People who get into this field find very good employment."

The HVAC-R program also recently established a night curriculum, intended to accommodate companies wishing to enroll fulltime employees in college. By attending classes two nights per week, students earn a degree in four years. The registration period ends Friday, September 1.

For more information, contact Hudson Valley's Admissions office at (518) 629-7309.

Hudson Valley Community College, located in Troy, offers more than 50 degree and certificate programs in four academic divisions; Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Sciences; and Liberal Arts and Sciences. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, Hudson Valley has an enrollment of more than 9,000 students each year, and is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and worker retraining.