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Greener Pastures


Greenfield Community College (GCC) will develop a new HVAC training program that’s focused on improving equity in the green workforce thanks to a grant from the Healey-Driscoll administration.

GCC’s Workforce Development division is developing the HVAC training program with funding from an $18 million grant designed to drive equitable clean-energy workforce development. The awards are being provided by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), a state agency dedicated to accelerating the growth of the clean-energy sector to meet the Commonwealth’s clean-energy, climate, and economic-development goals.

“We’re thrilled to partner with MassCEC to bring this high-demand workforce-training program to Greenfield,” said Kristin Cole, vice president of Workforce Development at GCC. “This grant award, rooted in equity, will allow GCC to train unemployed and underemployed individuals for a family-sustaining career in a growing industry. HVAC technicians will become increasingly more in-demand over the next few years to help meet the state’s climate targets for 2030 and 2050.”

michelle Schutt

Michelle Schutt

“Clean-energy jobs are good for the environment and good for family incomes. This is a win-win situation for GCC and our region.”

GCC is receiving $1.1 million to develop and deliver a HVAC training program that includes paid on-the-job training with employers. Trainees will be provided technical skills and career-readiness training, as well as professional certifications, comprehensive student support, and a two-month paid internship.

These efforts aim to provide career-ready individuals for an industry that will need to increase the number of professionals by 17% between now and 2030, according to a recently released needs assessment for the Massachusetts clean-energy workforce.

“Clean-energy jobs are good for the environment and good for family incomes. This is a win-win situation for GCC and our region,” GCC President Michelle Schutt said.

The college and its partners at MassHire Franklin Hampshire Career Center will specifically focus recruitment efforts on historically underrepresented individuals.

“Building and expanding our workforce is a foundational element of the clean-energy transition,” MassCEC CEO Jennifer Daloisio said. “The evolution of MassCEC’s programming in workforce development shows our commitment to inclusive and intentional growth that delivers good-paying jobs to families and clean energy to residents across the Commonwealth. We are grateful for the Healey-Driscoll administration’s continued support, and we look forward to seeing these organizations carry out their promising work.”

Sue Surner, CEO of Surner Heating Co. and a GCC employer partner, added that “this program will be a critical resource to prepare students for an excellent career path in the HVAC industry. We are excited to not only support GCC’s efforts to design a valuable training program with industry-recognized credentials as outcomes, but also to partner with GCC to provide paid internships to the participants coming out of this extensive training program.

“This grant will allow GCC to add 45 newly qualified individuals to our regional HVAC workforce pipeline,” she added, “and with the work ahead of us to move residents across the state off of fossil fuels and into cleaner energy, this couldn’t come at a better time.”