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News from the Career and Technical Center

Area business leader sounds the alarm over need for skilled workers 


Northeast Heating, Cooling & Refrigeration owner appeals to area school counselors for help


HVAC teacher Frank Ando shows counselors some of the equipment in his lab.An area business leader appealed to Capital Region BOCES guidance counselors to encourage more youth to get into the skilled trades.

Speaking at a meeting of area school district school counselors hosted by Capital Region BOCES Career and Technical School (CTE), Don Abbruzzese, owner of Northeast Heating, Cooling & Refrigeration, sounded the alarm over what he labeled a dire shortage of skilled workers.

“It’s not an exaggeration to say we are in a crisis situation, not just here or in New York, but across the country. I can place an advertisement and not have one single applicant. If it wasn’t for Capital Region BOCES Career and Technical School and Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC), I wouldn’t have any workers,” said Abbruzzese.

CTE and HVCC operate certification and degree programs for the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC/R) trade.

“If something doesn’t happen quickly, you are going to be paying $200 an hour for a plumber or an HVAC technician to come to your house if you can even find one,” Abbruzzese added.

Graduate JohnBroedus speaksHis comments to approximately 75 area school counselors followed a panel discussion in which five BOCES alumni and a current student spoke about their education.

Several of those panelists spoke of the difficulty they had enrolling in the CTE program because of the incorrect perception that CTE programs are for students who can’t or won’t be going to college or that they prepare students for “dead-end” careers. (Fact check: About 70 percent of Capital Region BOCES CTE students go on to college or technical school).

“I wanted to go to BOCES but I was considered part of a group of students who were too smart for BOCES,” said John Broadus. “So I went to BOCES as an adult student to learn HVAC.”

Broadus took the adult HVAC class at his own expense, graduating in 2013. He was hired for a full-time position even before he graduated, thanks to the efforts of CTE faculty and staff.

“I was hired about a month before I graduated and I have been with Northeast for the more than four years now,” said Broadus. “At BOCES, they taught us the skills we need to do the work, but also prepped us for job interviews and resumes and even brought in employers to conduct interviews.”

Co-worker Tyler Nichols took HVAC as a high school student from Duanesburg, placed second in the nation in the SkillsUSA HVAC technician competition in Kansas, earned a scholarship that paid his tuition at the University of Northwestern Ohio and graduated with a degree before starting work at Northeast.

“When I went to college, I had a huge jump on my classmates because of what I learned in the BOCES program and now I have a good job and am doing much better than a lot of 20-year-olds,” he said.


In the top photo, HVAC teacher Frank Ando shows counselors some of the equipment in his lab.'

In the second photo, alumni John Broadus speaks.



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