Skilled trades job growth is increasing and companies are finding it hard to find qualified technicians and hardworking employees to fill the positions. Steve Signorile, president of Central Air Systems Inc., and business and industry partner of Eastern Suffolk BOCES (ESBOCES) and the Academy at Milliken Technical Center’s HVAC Program understands this too well. “Skilled tradesmen are retiring and we need technicians to fill the gap. Thankfully a culture of change is affecting the plumbing, HVAC, electrician, and carpentry trades. The perception is that these are ‘dirty jobs’ but the reality is they are not, and in fact, these blue collar jobs are drawing white collar salaries.”
The growing demand is for HVAC technicians who can work on the newer HVAC systems while keeping some older equipment maintained. Signorile wants to attract the younger generation to the benefits of being a skilled tradesman and its lucrativeness. He donates used furnaces, geo thermal AC systems, and other equipment that he’s taken out of service so the students in Nick DeBlanco’s HVAC Program can use them as a learning tool. “The students take them apart and put them back together to learn,” said Signorile.
Students continuing on to college may qualify to receive reduced tuition rates and 300 hours of training at local colleges that have articulation agreements with ESBOCES. They may also acquire industry certification with the EPA, NCCER, NORA, and NATE.
Signorile graduated from a trade school in Jamaica and feels compelled to attract and inspire students to be skilled tradesmen.