PPA Hosts Ribbon Cutting Event To Celebrate Expanded Technical Training Facility

The Pennsylvania Petroleum Association held a ribbon cutting ceremony on August 26 to celebrate an expanded facility, a new 10-week training program, and a new scholarship named for a long-time industry leader, Robert V. Boltz.

The ceremony drew over 60 attendees including a visit from state Senator Scott Martin, Chairman of the Senate Education Committee.

Together, the initiatives will create a vital pathway to well-paying jobs for Pennsylvanians — and a pipeline of highly qualified technicians for companies servicing the state’s residential and commercial comfort systems.

Expanded Technical Training Facility: An Engine For Job Growth

At a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Harrisburg, PPA showcased its expanded training facility, the PA Petroleum Association Technical Education Center (PPATEC).

The facility offers technicians real-world practice troubleshooting and repairing a range of heating and cooling systems appliances, and training simulators. The hands-on training area includes 1,500 square feet of lab space and 30+ live-fire HVAC systems.

The updated PPATEC facility also includes new classroom space with upgraded visual training capabilities.

Ted Harris, PPA Executive Vice President, notes that the expansion was possible due to donations and support from member companies and other industry stakeholders.

“For over 35 years, PPA has offered technical training, serving thousands of trade professionals who honed their skills under expert instruction,” Harris said. “The expanded PPATEC facility better positions the association to offer valuable, life-changing instruction to even more Pennsylvanians in the years to come.”

Gateway Training: Jumpstarting Careers

PPA also offered details on its new HVAC & Energy Professional Program, which has received formal Private Licensed School approval from the PA Department of Education. This 10-week program will recruit new technicians into the industry, offering training on oil heat, propane, gas, A/C, and electrical systems.

Graduates will receive valuable industry certifications:  NORA, CETP, and EPA 608.

Candidates for this program will include veterans, vo-tech graduates, and individuals who want to begin a new career. Once individuals complete the program, they will have the opportunity to be hired by PPA and PPATEC member companies. The PPA plans to host its first 10-week class next year.

Michael DeBerdine, CEO of Lancaster, Pa.-based Rhoads Energy and PPA Propane Committee Chairman, noted that the expanded propane instruction will benefit the industry and the state’s homeowners.

“Today, about 40 percent of PPA members market propane products to thousands of homes. The PPATEC expansion includes training for propane-fired HVAC equipment and appliances, which will help us serve the growing market for propane,” DeBerdine said.

“In fact, the new PPATEC positions us to serve the demanding job market of HVAC technicians in all energy fields. The upgraded equipment will enable us both to train new employees and offer ongoing career development to seasoned technicians.”

            The Boltz Scholarship: Fresh Support For Applicants

PPA also announced the creation of the Robert V. Boltz Scholarship Foundation, which was established to provide technical training to students in need.  The scholarship honors the contributions of Bob Boltz, who spent decades as a driving force in PPA and throughout the industry.

The nonprofit foundation was recently created to offer tuition assistance for individuals who will be enrolling in the HVAC & Energy Professional Program at PPATEC.

For more information or to contribute, visit the Robert V. Boltz Scholarship Foundation website.

PPATEC Instructor Ed Howell provides an overview to attendees on how the new training space is used for hands-on technical training

PPATEC Instructor Alan Mercurio provides an overview to attendees on how the training space is used for hands-on technical training

PPA President Mike McCarthy (Shipley Energy) gives opening remarks to ribbon cutting attendees

PPA Executive Vice President Ted Harris describes the expansion project and future training program initiatives

PPA Propane Committee Chairman Mike DeBerdine (Rhoads Energy) announces the creation of the Robert V. Boltz Scholarship Foundation

Senator Scott Martin comments on the importance of workforce development

Ribbon Cutting (from left to right: Mike DeBerdine, Jim Swenson, Jim Barber, Ted Harris, Senator Scott Martin, Bob Boltz, Mike McCarthy, Bruce Spiridonoff)

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