July | August 2017







Associates in Action: AHRI Supports Future Heating and Air Technicians through Rees Scholarship Foundation

By Liz Roach, CSG development manager
Few situations spur a sense of urgency like a malfunctioning furnace, water heater, or air conditioner. As the temperature begins to creep to uncomfortable conditions, the first course of action for most homeowners is to place a call to a local contractor.  
In the near future, reaching a certified heating, air conditioning and refrigeration, or HVACR, specialist may be increasingly difficult. With approximately 39,326 workers, or 12.4 percent of HVACR employees, nearing retirement age (per the Economic Modeling Specialists International), the U.S. is facing a potential shortage of technicians.
According to the HVACR Workforce Development Foundation, the U.S. will need 115,000 HVACR technicians by 2022. With only about six percent of high school students indicating that they are contemplating a skilled trade as a career, experts are predicting that demand will soon outweigh the supply of skilled workers.
Recruitment is a crucial tool for filling the vacancies.
The Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, or AHRI, is concerned about this issue. As the trade association representing manufacturers of air conditioning, heating and commercial refrigeration, and water heating equipment, AHRI is an internationally recognized advocate for the industry.
Recognizing the importance of recruiting and training competent, skilled professionals, AHRI founded the Clifford H. “Ted” Rees Jr. Scholarship Foundation in 2003. The foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that aims to support the education, recruitment and competency of future HVACR and water heating technicians through its scholarship program.
The foundation targets the most talented students in technical schools and colleges and hopes to further enhance overall industry expertise as a result.
Recently, the foundation announced that it has awarded $55,000 worth of scholarship awards to 35 students, including six veterans.
“We are pleased to award scholarships to these qualified and dedicated students and veterans, and hope to eventually welcome them into the industry," said AHRI President and CEO Stephen Yurek. "Each year, the foundation provides aid to an increasing number of recipients, helping to promote careers in the industry and fill good-paying jobs that cannot be outsourced."
Since its founding, the Rees Foundation has awarded more than $500,000 to 330 students.
Qualifying students must be enrolled in an accredited school and must be entering a career in residential or light commercial air conditioning, heating or water heating, or commercial refrigeration.
As scholarship recipients graduate and progress in their careers, it is AHRI’s hope that the HVACR workforce will continue to expand. With the work of The Rees Scholarship Foundation and other training and development efforts, the future of HVACR technicians is bright and, for the rest of us, comfortably temperature-controlled.
To learn more, please visit the Rees Scholarship Foundation website at reesscholarship.org.
Associates in Action articles highlight CSG Associates’ philanthropic efforts and public-private partnerships throughout the states.
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