During the most recent ContractingBusiness.com Refrigeration Roundtable, held in Philadelphia during Comfortech 2013 in September, Richard Luhm, president of Memphis Mechanical, offered up a humorous “solution” to the refrigeration industry’s technician shortage.

“Manufacturers have to start making equipment that can be repaired with iPhones. Then we’d find all kinds of technicians,” he said with a laugh.

His point was well-taken: the refrigeration industry has to become more exciting, current, and visible, to attract younger prospects to the career. (That’s right, it’s a career.)

The problem exists on two levels. First, refrigeration contracting firms say repeatedly, that vocational schools aren’t providing students with sufficient information and training in low and medium temperature refrigeration.

Second, the industry itself isn’t known or respected by high school counselors or parents — in part because they’re unaware of the good future the work provides; some parents dread the idea of subjecting their babies to blue collar work; and, high school administrators want to advertise the number of students they send on to colleges, not to refrigeration schools.

But shouldn’t qualified, tech-leaning students have a chance to look into this career, and have a say in the matter? Our panel thinks so. Here’s a look at their opinions, and possible solutions.