June 03, 2016, Washington, DC – This month the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 7.4 million Americans are unemployed, while at the same time 5.8 million jobs remain unfilled in America. This crisis exists because employers demand "job ready" employees and prospective employees are simply not able to bridge the skills gap without appropriate education and training.
As summer heats up, the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU) examines the shortage of skills in America’s heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) industry. Although it is often taken for granted, the industry allows Americans to live and work comfortably all year round in diverse climates. But this comfortable way of life could be at risk in the coming years as the HVACR industry confronts an almost unprecedented labor shortage.
According to a September 2015 report from the HVACR Workplace Development Foundation, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the number of HVACR mechanic and installer jobs will increase by 21 percent through 2022 – nearly twice the growth of employment overall – with more than 115,000 additional HVACR mechanics and installers needed. During this time, the Social Security Administration estimates 22 percent of the U.S. workforce will retire, which is expected to create a large talent gap.
“HVACR jobs are in high demand across the country and cannot be outsourced, unlike some skilled occupations. The industry also offers good pay – average salaries are over $49,000, plus bonuses and overtime,” said Steve Gunderson, president and CEO of APSCU. “But despite the potential appeal of working as an HVACR technician, the number of new entrants in the field is failing to keep pace with America’s growing demand.”
In 2014 alone, Burning Glass Technologies found over 220,000 openings for all types of HVACR jobs. However, there were only an estimated 21,239 new employees qualified to enter the workforce from technical or community colleges for the 2014–2015 school year, according to a HVACR Workplace Development Foundation report.
As leading providers of talent for skilled trades like HVACR technicians, private sector colleges and universities will play a key role in equipping students with the skills they need to replace America’s aging workforce.
“At our Fortis and All State Career locations across the country, we are actively working to recruit students for the HVAC programs,” said Duncan Anderson, president and CEO of Education Affiliates. “We are confident that our program prepares students for the wide variety of job options in the HVACR industry, and will continue to do our part to provide them with the skills they need to succeed. We know that those committed to completing the training will find numerous employment opportunities in the region.”
About Shortage of Skills
Each month APSCU will profile America's "Shortage of Skills" (SoS) in one key industry. We will examine industries that are critical to America's economic advancement and explain how a well-educated and well-trained workforce can address these issues.
About The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU)
The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU) is a membership organization of accredited institutions of higher education that provide postsecondary education with a career focus. APSCU's work supports thousands of campuses that educate millions of students.