CDCR recognizes National HVAC Tech Day

HVAC tech students and instructor at a prison examine a unit.
HVAC crew at Chuckawalla Valley State Prison testing an AC unit.

17 prisons offer HVAC tech training, certifications for incarcerated

Now that summer is here, the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) industry takes center stage. As June 22 is National HVAC Tech Day, we thank those who keep us cool during the hot California summers.

CDCR currently offers HVAC certification programs at 17 institutions, serving 459 students.

Certifications can lead to jobs with commercial and residential HVAC installers and maintenance contractors, building equipment contractors, and plumbing merchant wholesalers.

Joseph Piazza, CDCR State Supervisor of Career and Technical Education (CTE) Programs, said this helps ease a parolee’s transition into the community.

“Students complete instruction that is the same as a union apprentice would receive in their first year of training,” he said. “When incarcerated students in the HVAC (tech) program are paroled, they have the skills, tools and knowledge that match industry standards. They can (then) begin their second year of apprenticeship in the community.”

Piazza spent much of his career in education in the K-12 levels. He was also a university instructor before retiring to dedicate his time to overseeing CDCR’s expanding CTE programs.

CDCR offers training and certifications in more trades

There are currently more than 10,000 incarcerated people involved in the 320 different CTE programs such as:

  • carpentry
  • auto body and collision repair
  • plumbing
  • roofing
  • welding.

There are 40 training vendors and partners providing curriculum and training equipment while some also provide industry certification. All are critical in the training of the students in accordance with industry standards. This provides independent verification of the quality of CDCR training and the capability of graduating students.

Students earn building and trade industry certification such as:

  • Multi-Craft Core Curriculum (MC3) certification
  • OSHA certification
  • CPR/First Aid Certification
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certification.

All CDCR CTE programs within the building and construction trades are accredited by the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). CDCR’s Office of Correctional Education is an accredited NCCER Training Sponsor.

The center provides accreditation for programs around the country that satisfy the requirements for training. These requirements include:

  • number of hours of training provided
  • quality of the instructors who deliver the training
  • topics covered
  • assessment processes and standards implemented by the institution.

“So many employers are looking for workers these days,” said Piazza. “Why not look at a parolee who is looking for a second chance (as well as a) first chance to prove (themselves) in their community.”

By Joe Orlando, CDCR Public Information Officer

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