Published on August 27th, 2019 | by Millennium Magazine Staff



by Nicole H. Holland

REEMERGE is a 12-month reintegration program that uses employment, coaching, and entrepreneurship education to assist in combating the barriers of reentry. This program is designed to fully prepare those who have been formerly incarcerated to work, complete technical training, prepare for licensure and to become self-employed.

Recently, REEMERGE program participants completed the second phase of their HVAC training. They are now in phase three of their training and officially halfway through the program! In May, program participants began a 24-week program consisting of four phases at Midlands Technical College (MTC) in Columbia, SC. This includes HVAC electrical operation and diagnostic, HVAC refrigeration cycle operation, heat pump operations and diagnostics and air flow design and measurement. So far, they have completed their entry level course work covering the electrical circuits for an HVAC system. They learned about the operation of HVAC units and how to troubleshoot them as it relates to the electrical components of the system. The students have also received intensive training on understanding the components of the refrigeration cycle for an HVAC system, how it operates and how to troubleshoot the refrigeration cycle.

“These guys are a great group of guys,” says MTC Instructor Jason Joyner! “Once these young men receive their certificates of completion from all four phases and obtain an EPA technician’s certification and pass the State exam, then they will be excellent hires for any HVAC company,” explains Joyner. The United States’ Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established a mandatory program that requires all technicians to be certified before performing maintenance, service, repair, or disposal of an appliance that contains refrigerant chemicals. The agency has developed four types of certifications:

TYPE I – for servicing small appliances
TYPE II – for servicing high and very high-pressure appliances
TYPE III – for servicing low pressure appliances
UNIVERSAL – for servicing all appliances

To obtain certification, technicians must pass a closed-book proctored test which contains 25 questions about EPA regulations, and 25 questions on recycling procedures in the area in which they work.

“I know that some of these guys could pass their EPA technician’s certification now.” “And, completion of the MTC training program and passing the SC HVAC Examination will make them very desirable to employers,” concludes Joyner. Joyner, an adjunct faculty member at MTC College who has spent 27 years in the HVAC industry, was recently named “Adjunct Faculty Member of the Year” for his department at Midlands Technical College.

A certificate ceremony was held for at Midlands Technical College’s Academic Center Program to honor participants for completing their first phase of comprehensive training in the HVAC Program. “This is exciting for me,” exclaims REEMERGE Program Participant Rob Brown! “The classes go by quickly, but Jay is a good instructor. He really explains things so that you can understand them. Each time we finish a phase, I want my certificate. I need that piece of paper,” says Brown.

During the ceremony Dr. Ronald L. Rhames, president of the college, presented certificates and words of encouragement to each of the students being honored. Also present were REEMERGE Advisory Committee members Councilman Jim Manning and Dawn Sloan, as well as Nena Walker-Staley, Deputy Director of Program Services and REENTRY at the SCDC, Andrea Thompson and Stephanie Donaldson. Karren Hill Gordon of South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation was also present. There will be a final graduation ceremony in the fall, when the program participants complete all phase of training.

REEMERGE is a reintegration program that uses employment, coaching, and entrepreneurship education to assist in combating the barriers of reentry. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency and administered locally through DESA, Inc. The HVAC training classes are offered by Midlands Technical College and are designed to complement the on-the-job training participants will receive while working with a local HVAC company and then completing the examination for their own licensure.

Upon completion of training, program participants will embark upon that final phase of the journey, attending an HVAC test taking strategy course and preparing for the state licensing examination offered by the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. The state examination consists of 80 questions. In order to pass this examination 56 questions must be answered correctly. Individuals are allowed four hours to complete the exam.

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