WEATHERFORD, Texas, April 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- A Texas trade school known for training veterans for long-term, high-paying careers has found a silver lining in the coronavirus pandemic.
All schools were forced to suspend in-person classes by Executive Order from Texas Governor Greg Abbott on March 31st. Like all Texas schools, PTA will remain closed to in-person classroom attendance at least through May 4, but the instructors and staff have not been idle during this time.
PTA has been expanding and upgrading its training facilities to more than double the student capacity. When the school reopens in mid-May, returning students will find greatly improved training areas and a better training experience. The next full class will see more students, mostly veterans, take their first steps towards careers as Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) technicians. PTA has also been actively hiring, adding new instructors to manage the increased student numbers.
HVAC companies are exempt from Gov. Abbott's closure order as they are essential services. The faculty and staff at PTA, however, are classified as educators and would have been laid off if not for the federal government's Paycheck Protection Program. Funds from this program to PTA have allowed its personnel to continue working to upgrade the Academy while maintaining recommended safeguards to prevent the spread of the virus.
Marine veteran and Lead Instructor Brian Hobson said in a statement:
"In a way, this closure was exactly what we needed. I know that sounds awful but it's true. We've been so busy training people to meet the demand for good HVAC technicians that we didn't have the time to do this kind of expansion.
"This virus has been a whole truckload of lemons, but we're making lemonade. We're not going to let it beat us. Governor Abbott's order followed President Trump's recommendations for slowing the spread of the pandemic, and the Paycheck Protection Program the President pushed kept us from having to lay off our staff. We've been able to keep them on because we had such a good turnaround time on the PPP funds. We applied on a Friday and had the money the next Thursday afternoon. Our people started renovating the facility that Thursday night and when we reopen, we're going to have a better training space than we've ever had. We'll be able to train 60 students at a time instead of just 28, and that'll help us put more people in good jobs as we support the nation's economic recovery. That's good for our students, good for our industry, and good for our country.
"Until now, we've self-limited the number of students to allow ample hands-on lab experience for every student. We want to ensure that every PTA student is prepared to enter the workplace, and that means lots of hands-on work.
"Our top priority is providing the absolute best training in the country. To the best of our knowledge, when we complete all of our planned renovations Perfect Technician Academy will have the largest lab and most equipment available to students for HVAC training in the country.
"As a veteran myself, I'm glad we'll be expanding our classes. There's a huge shortage of skilled HVAC techs, and we like to train Vets whenever we can. Not only do we help them develop the skills to get good long-term jobs, but employers know that veterans make some of their best employees. It's a win-win for all concerned. Best of all, it helps our veterans' transition back to civilian life with a high-demand job that lets them take care of themselves and their families.
"Now that the President and Governor are talking about how we're going to reopen Texas and the rest of the country, I'm more excited than ever. I know it'll be rough, but I have faith in our veterans, in Texans, in Americans, and our President that we'll be back stronger than ever."
"If you listen to the mainstream media, you'd think the government has not done a good job protecting businesses and schools. That couldn't be further from the truth for us, and our banker can back us up on that," PTA President Brett Hobson said. "President Trump has shown over and over that he's a supporter of small businesses, and the PPP proves it. Thank God for our President and the leadership he's shown during this crisis." Hobson is an industry veteran with years of HVAC experience.
Perfect Technician Academy was founded by the Hobson family to supply their own HVAC business with highly-trained, skilled HVAC workers, but now trains service technicians for positions with partners across the country. For several years there has been a nationwide shortage of certified HVAC technicians despite growing demand and very competitive salaries. PTA is authorized to provide career education by the Texas Workforce Commission. PTA is also recognized by the VA as a GI-Bill approved trade school. Located in Weatherford, TX, the Academy is well known for training transitioning veterans for a lifelong career in the air conditioning and heating industry.
SOURCE Perfect Technician Academy