Search heats up for Nacogdoches ISD HVAC technician

Nacogdoches ISD has had trouble filling their lead HVAC position even with the district actively looking and advertising the opening for several months. Directo
Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 12:33 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 28, 2022 at 11:12 PM CDT

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Since the pandemic, schools have experienced all manner of labor shortages for positions such as teachers, bus drivers and now HVAC technicians.

Nacogdoches ISD has had trouble filling their lead HVAC position even with the district actively looking and advertising the opening for several months. Director Of Construction and Facilities for NISD, Ralph LaRue, said this position is one of three in the district.

“This person would be assigned several school properties. They would work on rooftop units, chillers, split units, they would work on all aspects of heating and cooling within the school,” LaRue said.

The Executive Director of Workforce Solutions of Deep East Texas, Mark Durand, says this isn’t just a problem for the district, but all over the counties they cover and all over the country.

“With our data we’ve seen the last two years there have been 135 job postings to fill HVAC,” Durand said

In 2020 in the U.S. 80,000 jobs for HVAC technicians sat unfilled. Durand says that being an HVAC technician is very skilled in several different skills.

“Not only are they doing HVAC work heating, air conditioning, ventilation, but they are also doing electrician. One of our employers said they may even need carpenter skills, because they are setting up units in both residential and commercial areas. They have to go in, set the unit up and then may have to redo some things in the home,” Durand said.

Durand said this could become a bigger issue within five to seven years when people in this craft begin to retire. He said a solution to this issue and the shortage in general is getting kids from 8th grade through 12th grade interested in becoming an HVAC technician.

“One thing that we do is virtual reality goggles, showing those students what happens If you are an HVAC technician kind of drawing that interest,” Durand said.

LaRue says that while they have had applicants, they have been very limited. He says it is very important that this job is filled to ensure a comfortable environment for students.

“It directly affects the comfort of the students, and it’s a proven fact that the learning environment affects learning,” LaRue said.

For more information about the job opening at NISD, click here.