BUCKHANNON – The administration, staff and students of Fred Eberle Technical Center would like to formally welcome their newest addition: Dakota Workman. Workman will launch the first-ever HVAC Technician program at Fred Eberle during the 2022-2023 academic year.
Workman received trades education from Monongalia County Technical Education Center in Morgantown. This lifelong interest and respect for the trades drew Workman away from traditional higher education.
“[The trades are] something I’ve always thought about going into, even going into college,” said Workman. “I want to be out in the field and working with my hands. I just love what I do, being able to fix problems and problem-solving.”
Whether a novice or longtime industry worker, Workman ensures a career as a HVAC Technician is no easy walk in the park.
“It is hard work. Be prepared for that,” said Workman. “You’re going to be in extreme heat and extreme cold – I’ve been in some pretty bad conditions and had to work. If you’re there, there’s no heat or air. Expect it’s going to be difficult but it’s very rewarding.”
Proper education for the trades industry requires time both inside and outside of the classroom. Workman explained that Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) capabilities are a necessity for this line of work and life as a HVAC Technician.
“The math and science is a huge aspect [of this industry],” said Workman. “[HVAC Technology] is very math and science forward. There’s plenty of careers in this [industry] – to really understand it and be the best at it, math and science need to be your mentality.”
Workman’s classroom doors at FETC will open Thursday, August 18. As students walk in, they can expect to receive honest guidance from a professional tradesman. This individual has done the work in the industry and wants to share his experience students while fostering the next generation of HVAC Technicians across West Virginia and beyond.
“I want be able to equip [my students] – with whatever line of work they wanted to go into in this field – to get into that and be able to succeed and do the best they could possibly be at it,” said Workman.
The job is more than simply equipment installation and maintenance. This industry requires technicians to provide the utmost, professional customer service to their clients. Workman explained each service technician and installer will need to posses confident people skills as they introduce themselves to each client and explaining to the client what you are doing and why you are doing it.
“There’s a lot more to [the job] than just the technical side. Just my personal experience, I want to give that information to [the students],” said Workman. “Things that I’ve picked up that you don’t really learn until you start actually doing it. I’ll try to give as much of that knowledge to them as I can.”
As students complete this program at Fred Eberle Technical Center, job opportunities could be offered to promising students who work hard in this course.
“I’ve got quite a few contacts already in the industry,” said Workman. “In this program, if I see real potential that you are a hard worker and see that dedication – that you’re interested in this [curriculum], this is the field you want to be in, and I can really see you’re giving it your all and putting your best effort in – those would be the people I would recommend to [industry professionals].”
With the start of classes just around the corner, Workman is eager to witness the future of the industry, in the making.
“Never underestimate the trades,” said Workman. “It’s a lot of work. It’s long hours but there’s a lot of money to be made. [HVAC] is a field that’s always in demand and it’s not going anywhere. People will always need heat and air conditioning – if anything, people become more and more reliant on it. The demand for our trade keeps going up. From my experience, there is more work than there is people to do it.”
Prospective high school and adult students of this program are encouraged to contact the FETC main office at 304-472-1259 to receive more information about available programs, tuition rates and financial aid for the HVAC Technician program. The Fred Eberle Technical Center campus is located at 208 Morton Avenue in Buckhannon.