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Two VGCC students are first apprentices in new HVAC partnership

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Jared Akers of Franklinton and Cyrus Jover of Henderson, both students in the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Technology program at Vance-Granville Community College, recently became the first participants in the college’s new apprenticeship partnership with Youngsville-based Frigi-Temp.

The apprenticeship model involves a combination of formal education with on-the-job training at Frigi-Temp, a commercial HVAC and refrigeration service provider and licensed mechanical contractor that has been serving central North Carolina since 2001. The program takes approximately four years for an apprentice to complete. Not only are apprentices paid, but their college tuition is free.

Akers and Jover were already enrolled in the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Technology program when Frigi-Temp CEO Cory Thornton spoke to VGCC students about the new opportunity to become apprentices. Akers, a South Granville High School graduate, said that the program appealed to him “because it meant I could go to school and get experience in the field at the exact same time.” He had looked for apprenticeships before and was thrilled that VGCC had started the program.

“I went into the HVAC field because I researched and found out that it’s a growing field with a large shortage of technicians, so the opportunities are really wide-open for younger technicians,” Akers added. “Frigi-Temp is a quality company, outstanding in customer service and awesome with their employees, so I’m very glad that this is the first company I get to work for. The experience so far has been amazing.” He said that in just one month, he has learned a great deal through hands-on experience.

Jover had already worked in the HVAC field for almost four years before he became an apprentice, but he had only worked in residential installation. He jumped at the chance to gain a new type of experience. “Commercial HVAC is fun and opens me up to a whole new world of possibilities,” Jover said. “It’s something new every day. Frigi-Temp lets their apprentices become immersed in many different specialties, not just one type of service.” Jover is originally from the Philippines, where he earned a college degree in Biology before coming to the United States seven years ago, at age 20. Here, he found that the HVAC field had numerous job openings. He enrolled at VGCC, first as a part-time and then a full-time student. Now, he is done with almost all of his classwork and spends most of his time working at Frigi-Temp.

Both apprentices sometimes work a full 40 hours per week at the company while continuing their studies.

Students interested in enrolling in the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Technology program can contact program head Wesley Smith at smithw@vgcc.edu or (252) 738-3214. Employers interested in partnering with VGCC on apprenticeships are encouraged to contact Ken Wilson at wilsonk@vgcc.edu or (252) 738-3259 for more information.

Above: From left, Cyrus Jover of Henderson and Jared Akers of Franklinton are seen here wearing their Frigi-Temp attire in the HVAC lab on VGCC’s Main Campus. (VGCC photo)