Lincoln Tech: New workforce development labs in place
Officials at Lincoln Technical Institute and Johnson Controls are hoping the newest component of their partnership will bolster interest in HVAC, fire and security careers.
“Johnson Control is like a lot of other companies where they see their workforce is at that retirement age and they just don’t see enough young people who are interested and knowledgeable about their industry to come and join them,” said Scott Shaw, CEO and president at Lincoln Tech, as the Johnson Controls-sponsored laboratory was unveiled Tuesday, June 11, at the trade school’s Progress Drive location.
Both parties have been collaborating for the past two years to provide students with training in the electrical, fire and security system fields — among others. Along with the Shelton location, Lincoln Tech and Johnson Controls officials also presented new laboratory classrooms at the East Windsor and New Britain campuses on June 11.
“This partnership is something we are really proud of,” said Al Young, vice president of field services and installation operations for Johnson Controls’ North America, at the Shelton location. “This gives students an opportunity to see the latest and greatest technology. We want to try to get candidates ready now.
“We started this collaboration in 2018,” added Young, “with the goal of bridging the talent gap that exists in today’s workforce — our goal to build a program and platform, increase student skills and introduce Johnson Controls.”
Young said that Johnson Controls has more than 15,000 technicians assisting customers daily, and “our techs are the people who deliver on our commitment and make sure we’re doing what’s right for our customers.”
But Young said, for Johnson Controls and with other such companies, there is a dearth of skilled professionals in these fields.
“We have a great need for technicians that scale multiple spaces and capacities,” said Young. “Our company is in growth mode. We are hiring a number of slots whether that’s in sales or on the technician and mechanics side.”
According to reports by the trade publication “Material Handling and Logistics,” the need for labor is expected to surge to more than two million unfilled jobs in the coming years, due in large part to lack of trained candidates.
Young said the program was meant to make it easier for students to advance in careers around technology and meet the growing demand for skilled labor.
“Lincoln Tech embeds the fundamentals,” said Young, speaking to students in attendance at the Shelton unveiling. “We (at Johnson Controls) like the hands-on training and lab work and training you are offered. When you are a graduate, you will be prepared to take on roles of HVAC techs, fire inspectors, security techs and be ready to work at Johnson Controls, a global leader in our industry.”
The partnership also includes working with existing graduates for placement with the Johnson Controls, which produces electronics and HVAC equipment for buildings. The company has a presence at all nine Lincoln Tech campuses offering hands-on career training in fire, security and HVAC systems.
“I have always been a fan of the tech schools at every level,” said Mayor Mark Lauretti, who joined trade school, Johnson Controls and Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce officials at the June 11 ribbon cutting.
“This notion that everyone goes to college, that’s all it is, just a notion,” added Lauretti. “People need to be trained in specialty type roles forever. Who is going to be plumber, the electrician, the café worker, the restaurateurs? I applaud what you are doing here, and I support what you are doing here.”
In the past 12 months, more than 50 Lincoln Tech graduates have been hired by Johnson Controls across the country, according to a news release.
Johnson Controls is sponsoring the new classrooms at Lincoln Tech and outfitting them with equipment from the company that students can use in class to prepare for the industry.
Shaw said the additions are expected to give students hands-on and transferable training.
“This is exactly what you would see on the job,” he said. “Everything is real world, real life and real equipment, so they can step right in day one and are as productive as possible.”