TODAY WE BEGIN a new section on Contracting Business.com: "TRAINING FOR TOMORROW," in which we feature an accredited HVACR training organization.

We're doing this to keep HVACR contractors aware of the resources available to them for finding new HVACR technicians who will need employment, and who will then expand upon what they learn in the classroom with on-the-job/contractor-based training.

SEND NEWS ABOUT YOUR TRAINING ORGANIZATION (this is for "brick & mortar" locations, that might also have an online component), answering each of the following questions, to tmciver@penton.com, and we'll include it in this section. This section is not featuring manufacturer-based schools.

TODAY: The Refrigeration School, Phoenix, AZ

What is the nature of the curriculum, length of program, and type of refrigeration systems you train on?
The Refrigeration School, Inc (RSI) offers a range of training programs to meet the growing demand for HVAC professionals and advanced HVAC skills. All programs include hands-on training on industry standard equipment with experienced HVAC professionals teaching our courses. We train on comfort systems and refrigeration. Our comfort systems include split systems, package, gas pack and a strong introduction to chillers.

The school's refrigeration class will cover walk in freezers, coolers, reach in coolers, a few basic food storage coolers, and various brands and styles of ice makers. Our curriculum focuses on the theory and is backed up by video and real hands-on, guided by a quality instructor who will expand on proven lesson plans provided for the class.

RSI offers a 6 month Refrigeration Technologies program to train students as service and maintenance technicians in the fields of air conditioning (both heating and cooling) and refrigeration.

The nine-month, Electro-Mechanical Technologies program focuses on the fields of air conditioning, heating, refrigeration and maintenance electricians. This program has refrigeration courses that focus on fundamentals of both residential and commercial refrigeration systems.

Students have hands-on training with various commercial refrigeration units. RSI’s 15 month Mechanical Maintenance Engineering program includes the completion of the Electro-Mechanical Technologies program and advanced training courses that include more in-depth training with commercial refrigeration systems.

Do you provide cooperative / training opportunities with local businesses?
We have an active internship agreement with Sears. In the Spring of 2013, we will kick off two other internships with Parker & Sons and Ace Air.

What companies hire your graduates?
Parker & Sons; Sears; Chas Roberts; George Brazil; Palm Aire; A/C by Jay; Magic Touch; Crowne Plaza; City of Scottsdale; CBRE; Jones Lang LaSalle; Intel.

How do you keep aligned with new technologies? Do you work with manufactures/local business on this?
We have an advisory committee made up of many different current businesses from our community, and our instructors communicate with supply houses on new technologies to keep us up to date on products that are used in the field today and supervisors are sent to HVAC conferences to learn about new products and equipment. We also have an instructor training program that updates our instructors on some of the newer proven teaching techniques to better articulate subject matter to our students.

The instructional staff at RSI, both part time and full time, work in the field and stay abreast of new and changing technologies. The school frequently upgrades curriculum to meet the ever changing field with equipment and the presentation of differing theories regarding HVAC/R technologies based on field technician recommendations.

How does a younger population learn about HVACR?
RSI has been providing HVAC training in Phoenix for over 57 years, so we have a lot of people who contact us through family or relatives who have graduated from RSI or know of RSI’s strong reputation for quality training. Our students range in age from high school graduates wanting a solid career education in a growing industry to those who are looking for a career change. We also have students who are in the HVAC industry now that want more extensive training for advanced career potential. We promote our program using TV, Online Marketing, Radio and Open Houses. RSI offers financial aid for those who qualify and a range of scholarships.

Learn more at www.refrigerationschool.com.

What technology do you use in training?
We have a variety of training equipment that ranges from 20-year old package units to 2011 model chilled water systems. The basis of our program is to give the student a look at varying equipment that will be seen in their field of training.

The school has built two types of units that are unique to us and they are what we call the M-Star and E-Star trainers. The E-Star trainer was designed and built by the instructional staff to test students with mechanical troubleshooting procedures. The system is designed to bring real problems to a piece of equipment with the flick of a switch. We can demonstrate a low charge condition, over charge condition, slow fan, dirty air filter, loss of air to either coil, along with other conditions. The student is exposed to actual conditions which they must solve to bring the system back to its optimal operating condition.

The M-Star was also designed and built by the instructional staff and provides the student with actual symptoms caused by electrical failure by a number of different components in a typical Air Conditioning and Heating system. Students must solve a select number of problems using electrical test equipment in a measured amount of time.

Information and photos provided by Julie Alejandro, Sr. Director of Marketing, StrataTech Education Group, formerly Beam Reach Education.