Introducing A "Cool" Way to Gain English Language Skills

HVAC technicians at work.
Rebecca A. Eckland

Do you like solving problems, working with your hands and pursuing a career in a rapidly growing industry? And, are you working to develop your skills in the English language? If you answered “yes” to these questions, TMCC’s Adult Basic Education program has an incredible opportunity to receive training in the HVAC/R industry while working on your English language skills. Thanks to funding from the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) grant, if you qualify, you could start earning your HVAC/R skills certificate while perfecting your English language skills… tuition-free. 

“This is a great opportunity for students who need English language support,” said ABE Transition Coordinator Debi Pezzuto, who described the ideal candidate as someone with an interest in HVAC/R and who is a second language learner of English who has a high-intermediate to advanced proficiency in the language. 

Working on Your Goals, Step by Step

This semester-long program is a great place to start working on your career goals, especially if you are interested in the HVAC/R profession. Here are three reasons why: 

  1. The program lasts for one semester and will help you learn career skills and language skills. 
  2. As the Career and Transitions Coordinator, Pezzuto will work with you on obtaining scholarships, financial aid to continue your HVAC/R education.
  3. As a result of the skills you will learn in this program, you will qualify for employment opportunities in related fields as you work toward your future goals. 

The Application Process is Simple

In order to apply, applicants must complete the following steps: 

  1. Submit an application that includes a form and a short essay that outlines the reason(s) why the applicant is interested in a career in HVAC/R. 
  2. Pay for your fees and supplies. If admitted, the student is responsible for any administration fees, textbooks, and supplies; however, the tuition is fully covered.

This pilot program joins a similar offering for TMCC’s Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program that has been in existence since 2017.  Both the CNA and HVAC/R program enable ELL students to gain practical, workplace skills while developing their communication skills. 

For the HVAC/R program, this is achieved through the IBEST model, which places the ESL instructor in the classroom with the subject-matter instructor. In other words, this means you will learn the skills necessary to be an HVAC/R technician from your HVAC/R instructor while you work on your English skills from an ELL instructor who is also present in the classroom. 

“We are hoping to have more classes like this one for English language learners,” said Pezzuto. “We have seen really great success because it gives students contextualized English. It also enables students to be a part of a cohort, and to proceed through the program as a group.” 

Apply... Today 

Space in the program is limited, and applications are currently being accepted. The program begins on Feb. 4, so if you’re thinking of applying, it’s best to do so now rather than later. 

The program is not only for “college-aged” students; anyone who is an ELL and who has an interest in HVAC/R can apply. “You can be 18 years old or sixty,” Pezutto said. “All community members are welcome—as long as they are a second-language learner.”

Students in this program are dually-enrolled in TMCC’s ABE classes and HVAC/R classes, which means they earn academic credit for the HVAC/R classes, but not the ABE classes. The program, however, will teach them valuable workplace skills and hone their spoken and written English. 

For more information—or to obtain the form needed to apply to the HVAC ELL program—contact Debi Pezzuto, College and Career Transitions Coordinator for TMCC’s Adult Basic Education Program, at 775-829-9052.