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9:40 pm, May 18, 2024
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A Letter from FRACCA President Will Barnes – Why is Apprenticeship so Important?

FRACCA President Will Barnes

The Florida Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association (FRACCA) represents the HVACR Industry in Florida. There are several items that the association focuses on, such as legislative issues and making sure that we have a voice in Tallahassee. While those are very important, apprenticeship programs are #1 as they drive our industry for the future.

Why is apprenticeship so important?

For the Employer:

  • A 3 to 4-year commitment = a long term employee.
  • Your service manager is no longer the trainer.
  • Variety of course content: CPR/First aid, EPA, HVAC excellence air conditioning, HVAC heat pump, HVAC electrical.
  • Valuable relationship with the employee = Invaluable!
  • Fees paid by employer show the investment in employees = Loyalty!
  • Educational value you can offer a prospective employee to further their career.

 For the Apprentice:

  • On the job training.
  • A 3 to 4-year commitment = job stability.
  • Growing with the company.
  • Valuable knowledge: CPR/First aid, EPA, HVAC excellence air conditioning, HVAC heat pump, HVAC electrical.
  • Building strong relationships with employers.
  • Fees paid by employer. The employer is investing in you…adding value to your career.

We recently had 2 chapters celebrate apprenticeship graduations, the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association, Tampa Bay (RACCA) and the Tallahassee Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association (TRACCA).

The RACCA chapter, which serves the Tampa/St. Petersburg area, has a highly successful and respected Apprenticeship Program that has provided needed training to the HVAC/R industry for 27 years. The apprentices attend class 2 nights per week while they work full-time for their employer during the day. Classes are held at Pinellas Technical College (PTC) located near the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Airport.

This year the RACCA program accomplished:
12 4-year HVAC Journeymen graduated.
5 5-year Refrigeration Mechanic Journeymen graduated.
20 apprentices advanced to the 2nd year.
34 apprentices advanced to the 3rd year.
15 apprentices advanced to the 4th year.
13 apprentices achieved perfect attendance for the 52 evening classes.
(Director’s note: see RACCA Graduation coverage HERE)

The TRACCA chapter, which serves Tallahassee, and the surrounding areas had their graduation. The program started in 2021 and this was the first class that graduated from the 3-year program. The apprentices attend class 2 nights per week while they work full-time for their employer during the day. Classes are held at Lively Technical College (LTC) which has been a steadfast partner in the HVAC Association.

This year TRACCA had the following graduated:
12 apprentices graduated from 1st year.
12 apprentices graduated from 2nd year.
11 apprentices graduated from 3rd year.

If you want to get involved with a chapter close to you, please reach out to Erica Mattis, erica.mattis@fraccaair.com.

For more information about the apprenticeship programs at RACCA please reach out to

Keane Bismark, apprenticeship@racca-florida.org. or TRACCA please reach out to Carre Welsh, traccafl@gmail.com.

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