Durham HVAC firm utilizing scholarships as a method to practice, recruit new staff

Posted: Mar 8, 2021 / 8:40 AM EST
Updated: March 8, 2021 / 8:40 a.m. EST

DURHAM, NC (WNCN) – Bobby Ferrel has owned Green Horizon One Hour Heating and Air in Durham for 13 years. An agonizing topic has moved on during this time – the shortage of skilled workers.

“There was a huge trade gap for 20 to 30 years that people didn’t trade,” Ferrel said. “Now it’s impossible to find good help.”

Ferrel has taken a step to combat the problem by creating a scholarship fund for students on the HVAC program at Durham Tech. The aim is to impart the basic knowledge to them in the classroom and then to transfer them to an apprenticeship.

Frank Rivera, a manager at Green Horizon, oversees the program. Growing up in the industry, he wants to inspire others as he was inspired himself.

“That’s what we hope to be – be the mentor to others. It doesn’t matter if you’re in school or you’re 50 or 60 years old looking for a new career, ”said Rivera.

When asked how many skilled technicians he could hire in a single day, Ferrel was quick to respond by saying, “Five, that would increase our workforce by 25 percent.”

He also emphasized the pay – $ 15 an hour to start out as a helper – with skilled technicians making $ 100,000 or more. In addition, no university degree is required.

“We put a high school diploma as a requirement, but honestly we’d be entertaining people who didn’t graduate from high school.”

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