Opportunities Abound at Cape Tech’s Community School


PLEASANT LAKE —Over the past two years, working through a state grant, approximately 30 Cape residents have had the opportunity to graduate from a Heating, Ventilation, and air Conditioning (HVAC) training program at Cape Cod Regional Technical High School. Only they’re not high schoolers.

The HVAC program is run through The Community School program, which oversees adult education at Cape Tech. The intensive eight-week program is designed to not only teach the basics of the industry, but it ensures students are immediately hirable upon graduation.

The program was set up through a state Workforce Success Grant and funded through a Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund FY2019 appropriation. The $141,084 grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development focuses on providing technical training for adults in a field where employers are in search of employees on Cape Cod.

With the pandemic, the program experienced some delays and the school has scheduled one more training session beginning in February, Community School Director Carol Connolly said Tuesday. The plan is to place 17 students in that HVAC program, and the application process is just starting, Connolly said. Applications can be obtained and more information is located at [email protected].

The HVAC training program was the brainchild of several employers in need of knowledgeable staff. The companies worked with MassHire’s Cape and Islands Workforce Board, the Cape and Islands Career Center, and the Housing Assistance Corporation to establish this program.

The businesses, including W. Vernon Whiteley, Inc, Robie’s Heating and Cooling, Rusty’s Inc., and Seaside Gas Service, brought the concept to Cape Tech and the school staff did their part in pursuing this initiative.

The eight-week program includes 80 hours of training to include theory, hands-on practice, an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10-hour safety and health training program, and an Environmental Protection Administration certification. The program is taught by Don Hebert and Brian Duarte of W. Vernon Whiteley, Inc.

“This is a great opportunity for us to get some potential employees,” Eric Whitley told The Chronicle two years ago when the program was getting underway. “This provides a jump start on the technical knowledge under-employed and unemployed people need to become technicians.”

Students of the program also have the opportunity to shadow an employee at an area HVAC company and participate in a five-hour career training workshop at the MassHire Cape and Islands Career Center immediately following graduation. They also have interviews with area HVAC companies.

The program has been successful in finding graduate positions. Connolly said they had 16 graduates from the program on Nov. 12, and one local employer hired three graduates immediately.

“We really look for jobs for people,” Connolly said. “We keep eliciting the employers.”

The Community School is the adult education and certification division of the regional vocational school in Pleasant Lake, and while the pandemic curtailed programs for nearly two years, the doors are opening to a number of classes. Year-long programs, such as medical, dental, and veterinary classes are ongoing, Connolly said.

The winter 2022 programs are now open for enrollment. Connolly said 70 people are entering the electrical certification program. There are a couple of new programs being offered, including Apparel Design and Production, which teaches the use of fabric and the creation of clothing. There is also a conversational Spanish course. There is space available in each of those classes, Connolly added. Some classes will begin as early as January 4.

There are also longstanding courses being offered, including Contractor Licensing, Cosmetology Licensing, Manicure Licensing, and Martha’s Vineyard Electrical Code and Theory.

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