VHV Apprentice Training Program Certifies First Graduating Cohort

22 June 2022

Contact 

Nate Formalarie, Communications Director
Agency of Commerce and Community Development
Nate.Formalarie@vermont.gov

VHV APPRENTICE TRAINING PROGRAM CERTIFIES FIRST GRADUATING COHORT

VHV’s four-year accredited apprenticeship program was established with funding support from the Vermont Training Program

Montpelier, Vt. - State and local officials gathered with newly certified tradespeople today at the first graduation ceremony of VHV’s four-year apprenticeship program. VHV (formerly Vermont Heating and Ventilating, Co.) launched its comprehensive apprentice training program in 2017 with support from the Vermont Training Program (VTP).

“Bolstering Vermont’s workforce is a top priority and I am excited for this inaugural class of graduates as they enter the next chapter of their careers,” said Agency of Commerce and Community Development Secretary Lindsay Kurrle. “With historic investments in employee education and training recently passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Scott, companies like VHV and this graduating class exemplify the variety of approaches needed to address workforce shortages and realize the benefit these programs can bring to an entire community.”

In 2017, VHV was awarded an $81,290 Vermont Training Program (VTP) grant to offset costs associated with establishing the apprenticeship program including up to 50% of hourly wages for employees to engage in on-the-job training and support for staff to become certified instructors of the accredited program.

“Supporting employers to fill critical, high paying jobs that provide fulfilling career pathways for Vermonters is essential in keeping our State competitive in today’s workforce landscape,” said Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development Joan Goldstein, “We have seen how important professionally installed and maintained ventilation systems are for our health and safety and this apprenticeship program is helping to ensure this critical service will remain accessible to Vermonters into the future.”

In addition, VHV was initially supported by the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), a national construction industry trade associate, to become an accredited Training Sponsor and Assessment Center.

“Investing in education and training is a key component of an employee’s successful career,” said Dick Wilcox, President at VHV. “This investment allows our company to offer our customers the benefit of utilizing the best craftspeople in the industry.”

"We recognized the shortage of HVAC contractors when a wave of our most seasoned and long-time employees retired from the workforce and we struggled to fill the vacancies they left,” said Tom Dacres, Director of Engineering at VHV. “We knew an investment in our staff would pay off in the long term and we decided to bring our training program in-house.”

VHV’s apprenticeship program follows the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) as its platform for training and education for new and existing employees. NCCER is a not-for-profit education foundation that defined a standardized training program for the construction industry. The program requires apprentice candidates to achieve 8,000 hours of on-the-job training and 4 years of classroom study. Individuals earn national recognition for studies upon successful completion of an NCCER apprenticeship program. VHV’s program offers three tracks: sheet metal, pipefitting, and HVAC service.

“We believe these programs will enhance employee performance, provide the skills necessary to work safely, and present our employees with opportunities to advance their careers,” said Rob Ward, Service Department Manager and Master Trainer and Accredited Training Site Sponsor Representative at VHV.

“VHV’s state sponsored apprenticeship program helped me get established in a great career in the construction industry as crew leader,” said Ben Peterson, sheet metal crew leader and graduating apprentice at VHV. “Throughout the apprenticeship I got great pay and benefits while also becoming invested in our employee stock ownership plan. VHV has kickstarted my future.”

To date, VHV’s apprenticeship program has created 30 new jobs with the apprentices working on crews that have constructed energy efficient HVAC systems for multi-unit housing projects resulting in over 120 new housing units. New hires have also worked on a variety of commercial, institutional, industrial, and healthcare projects including the Winooski High School, Army Mountain Warfare School, Gifford Hospital, and VELCO (Vermont Electric Power Company).

A historic level of new investments in workforce and economic development have been funded in State appropriations for Fiscal Year 2023 including $66 million to train, retain, and recruit more workers, and $87 million for initiatives that will help retain jobs, support businesses, and strengthen communities as part of new legislation signed by Governor Scott

Learn more about the Vermont Training Program, including eligibility details and how to apply.

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About VHV

Established in 1949, VHV has grown over the past 73 years from a small sheet metal/HVAC contractor to a full-service mechanical contractor with facilities in Winooski, Vermont and West Lebanon and Littleton, New Hampshire specializing in HVAC/R service and design-build construction with projects including commercial, institutional, industrial, healthcare, and multi-family and senior living housing. VHV is employee-owned and consists of 110 field employees, 40 service group employees, 16 shop workers, and an office support team of over 35 staff.

About the Vermont Training Program

The Vermont Training Program is administered by the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, Department of Economic Development. It is a workforce development program to enhance the skills of the Vermont workforce and increase productivity of Vermont employers; grants may cover up to 50 percent of the training cost which can either be on-site or through a training provider/vendor.  For more information on VTP, visit http://accd.vermont.gov/economic-development/funding-incentives/vtp

About the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development

The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development’s (ACCD) mission is to help Vermonters improve their quality of life and build strong communities. ACCD accomplishes this mission by providing grants, technical assistance, and advocacy through three divisions: The Department of Economic Development, the Department of Tourism and Marketing, and the Department of Housing and Community Development. For more information on ACCD please visit: accd.vermont.gov.

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