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Sustainably Speaking

Education, training and the plumbing industry

Welcome to the 2013 winter issue of Green Mechanical Contractor

In this issue you will find an Education Section featuring articles about training and education written by known industry experts Merry Beth Hall, director of apprentice, journeyman training for PHCC Educational Foundation; Doug Kirk, IAPMO’s director of Green Plumbing Curriculum; and Keith Mercurio, training manager at Nexstar Network.

I am very excited that they all agreed, months ago, to be a part of Green Mechanical Contractor’s education section. This shows how passionate our industry is about education and training!

As the saying goes, knowledge is power, and since I’ve been senior editor for Green Mechanical Contractor and CONTRACTOR, one of the topics that I have thoroughly enjoy covering from Day 1 is training and education in the plumbing, hydronic and HVAC industries.

Training and education equals advanced skill sets, which no one can ever take away from you. And an expanded skill set equals being more lucrative, which is a win-win for the industry as a whole: the plumbers and HVAC technicians, the companies they are working for, and all the manufacturers that offer training.

No matter what conference, trade show or media event I cover, it seems that educating the contractor is always a primary topic of conversation and interest — everyone in the industry knows it plays a key role in moving the industry forward. Associations offer seminars and courses related to technical and business skills and manufacturers also promote continuing education and have specific training courses for contractors to learn new skills.

Not only is training and continuing education for the current workforce a main topic of discussion amongst industry professionals, the issue of where we are going to find skilled trade professionals to replace the plumbers and HVAC professionals that are retiring is also a main concern.

And another concern is how the image of the tradecraft has eroded throughout the years and what we — as an industry — can do to change the image of the trades, and make the younger generations realize that these trades are stable and reliable industries to work in and can lead to  lucrative careers.

The question is how do we show people outside of the industry what we — all of us industry professionals — already know: that being a plumber or HVAC technician is not what is used to be 30, 20 or even 10 years ago. With the advancement of technology, the trades are becoming high tech. These current issues facing the industry, along with a directory of manufacturers and associations offering training courses, are the catalyst for this special section.  

Since education is near and dear to all of us, please let me know what training and education topics you would like us to cover. Please e-mail your suggestions to [email protected].

I hope you enjoy reading our featured education articles in GMC’s 2013 winter digital issue, — the section begins on page 15.

I look forward to covering more of the latest and greatest in industry training for you. Stay warm out there!

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