Published March 10, 2013

Washburn Tech to open nation's premier facility for climate and energy control education

Washburn Tech logoWashburn Institute of Technology on Tuesday morning formally opens its new Midwest Training Center for Climate and Energy Control Technologies. The center will be the premier training facility of its kind in the nation.

“Our goal at Washburn Tech is to be the leader for the Midwest, as we strive to provide the most state-of-the-art training to those either entering or professionals presently employed in the field of climate and energy controls,” said Dean Clark Coco. Partners in the effort include Trane, Snap-on tools, Ingersoll Rand and the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3).

The only similar facility in the country in terms of technology, software and tools available to students in a climate and energy control (also known as heating, ventilation and air conditioning) program is Gateway Technical College in Kenosha, Wis. Coco and other members of the Washburn Tech staff visited Gateway several times during the development of the new training center. The institutions plan to collaborate in the future.

The new facility “is a step up for not just climate and energy control technology, but for technical education period,” said Joshua Thompson, instructor in the climate and energy control program at Washburn Tech.

The center will benefit both those new to the field and seasoned professionals by offering a series of certificates endorsed by Trane and Snap-on through the NC3. The curriculum required for those certificates is designed with industry input and will signify to employers the certificate holder is work-place ready.

“There are so many types of mechanical apparatus out there,” Thompson said of HVAC equipment currently operating. The latest technology at the Midwest Training Center will ensure its graduates “will be able to approach any piece of equipment” on day-one of a job and know what to do.

“They will walk into the workforce with a foundation employers can invest in,” Thompson said.

And the new training facility couldn’t come at a better time. Keven Ward, an education facilities consultant with Trane, said the company currently employs about 60,000 technicians. Their median age is 54 years old.

Ward said students at the Midwest Training Center are likely to job shadow technicians working on the energy efficiency upgrades at Washburn University.

A formal presentation begins at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday with a ribbon cutting and tours of the Midwest Training Center on the Washburn Tech campus, 5724 Huntoon St. Tours of the facility will be given until 11 a.m. Those interested in a tour are asked to contact Georgianne Crow in advance.