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Spartanburg college’s $100,000 grant will train generation of HVAC workforce

Ross Norton //June 21, 2023//

Spartanburg college’s $100,000 grant will train generation of HVAC workforce

Ross Norton //June 21, 2023//

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Spartanburg Community College has received a $100,000 grant through Johnson Controls’ Community College Partnership Program that will be invested in training and educational opportunities for the college’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning program.

The arrangement was made through the Spartanburg Community College Foundation.

 "We are excited to be one of only 10 community colleges nationwide to partner with Johnson Controls to excel in meeting our mission to train the next generation of HVAC technicians,” Michael Mikota, president of SCC, said in a news release. “This funding will significantly enhance our training capacity and provide state-of-the-art technology that will be coupled with mentorship from industry professionals. Our students, our communities and our economy will be stronger because of this forward-thinking investment by Johnson Controls."

Since 2021, the Johnson Controls Community College Partnership Program has annually distributed $1 million across 10 community colleges in North America with a focus on vocational programs to inspire the next generation of workers, the news release said. Grant recipients have the opportunity to receive a renewed grant for up to three years, creating long-term opportunities for program development. Each college has the option to receive the grants in full monetary value or to receive partial monetary funds along with technical equipment donated by Johnson Controls.

SCC plans to utilize the funding to support its HVAC program, which has recently expanded to offer classes on the college’s Cherokee County Campus later this fall thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation. The investment will allow SCC to train its HVAC students using state-of-the-art technology.

With historic levels of investment and new development (both residential and commercial) occurring throughout the Upstate, HVAC technicians are in demand, the release stated. New building construction, retrofitting or replacement of old systems, and ever-evolving environmental laws are just three driving forces fueling demand for qualified technicians.

This field is projected to grow significantly over the next 10 years and SCC’s newly expanded HVAC program provides the local pathway for students to find success in this expansive and lucrative career path.

Johnson Controls employees in the surrounding area will also work with SCC to mentor and encourage students to join the skilled trades workforce, the company said in the release. Through relationship building with industry professionals, students will be able to ask mentors questions and get a glimpse into the promising career trajectory following training completion.

"Not only are we investing in the next generation of workforce leaders, but the mentoring associated with this initiative reminds our employees why we do what we do," Julie Brandt, president of Building Solutions North America at Johnson Controls, said in the release. "We’re looking at our future and through partnership with these colleges we’re all contributing to a better supported trades industry.”