Ivy Tech Kokomo Region HVAC/R program earns six-year accreditation

Randy Gardner leads Ivy Tech's internationally accredited HVAC/R program.

Randy Gardner leads Ivy Tech’s internationally accredited HVAC/R program.

KOKOMO, Ind. — Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region has earned a third multi-year accreditation for its Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology program from the international HVAC Excellence accreditation review board.

The six-year accreditation was awarded with distinction recently after an extensive self-study and on-site visit. It represents validation of the Ivy Tech training program by the third-party accreditation process that evaluates HVAC/R training programs and certifies HVAC/R technicians around the world.

“Ivy Tech Kokomo was the first campus in the Ivy Tech system to achieve accreditation for its HVAC program back in 2000,” said Randy Gardner, chair of the HVAC/R program for Ivy Tech Kokomo Region who, as chair of HVAC/R training for Ivy Tech statewide, has helped implement the accreditation process across all HVAC/R programs at the College’s other campuses.

“We are proud to have achieved our third multi-year accreditation in Kokomo with no compliance corrections required, one of only 10 programs in the nation to have performed so well,” Gardner continued. “The Kokomo program is considered to be in the top 99th percentile of HVAC/R training programs in the United States.”

The Ivy Tech program prepares students to work in the HVAC/Refrigeration field as technicians who specialize in installing and maintaining heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration systems. Ivy Tech has been a leader in the training of HVAC/R personnel and accreditation gives it the ability to award the prestigious HVAC Excellence certifications sought by employers. Ivy Tech is the only institution in the state that offers these certifications.

Howard Weiss, executive vice president of HVAC Excellence, is a proud spokesman for the HVAC/R field and credits Gardner with creating the outstanding program found at Ivy Tech Kokomo. “Randy is a great instructor and leads the Ivy Tech Kokomo HVAC/R faculty in continuing education to keep the program current,” Weiss said. “The instructors all worked in the field before coming to Ivy Tech. They really know what they are teaching and that makes all the difference for what students learn.

“HVAC/R offers tremendous career opportunities – for those who take advantage of programs like Ivy Tech’s,” Weiss continued. “According to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are roughly three million job openings right now in skilled trades and manufacturing but people don’t have the skills needed to fill them. Thanks to expected growth 20 percent higher than industry as a whole – and expected retirements among its aging employees, the HVAC/R industry predicts more than two-thirds of the people it employs in 2020 will have joined since 2010. This means the HVAC/R industry needs to recruit and train nearly 70 percent of its 2020 workforce in the next decade. That’s a lot of new jobs – and they are jobs that can’t be automated and can’t be moved overseas, and they pay well.”

Mike Soupley, manager of the Kokomo branch of Duncan Supply Company, a wholesale distributor of refrigeration, HVAC and food service equipment in Indiana and Illinois, serves on the advisory board and as an instructional resource for Ivy Tech’s HVAC program.

“As manager of a wholesale supply business, I have contractors coming in every day.  About twice a week, a contractor says, ‘I’ve got a job that needs to get done. Can you help me get somebody from Ivy Tech?’ People with the right skill set and certifications are definitely in demand,” Soupley said. “Ivy Tech has a great HVAC/R lab that they improve every year. From a professional point of view in the industry, I can say the program really helps students prepare for great jobs in the real world.”

Gardner noted the Ivy Tech program has successfully placed 98 percent of its graduates in HVAC/R jobs, many with jobs promised before graduation.

HVAC Excellence was founded as a not-for-profit organization in 1994 to improve the technical workforce of the HVAC/R industry through quality education. In 1999 HVAC Excellence was the first organization to create programmatic accreditation for HVACR programs in the United States. Since that time, HVAC Excellence has grown to the industry’s largest and oldest provider of HVAC/R programmatic accreditation.

The accreditation of the program, and separate accreditation earned by the program’s instructors, enables Ivy Tech to award successful students professional certifications in areas like air conditioning (EPA 608), gas heat/electric heat and electrical. Students can earn technical certificates or Associate of Applied Science degrees and college credit earned at Ivy Tech can be transferred to 1,800 other institutions for additional education.

To learn more about the HVAC/R program at Ivy Tech Kokomo, contact Randy Gardner at 800-459-0561, ext. 558, or rgardner@ivytech.edu .



About Ivy Tech Kokomo Region

Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region serves Cass, Fulton, Howard, Miami, and Tipton counties and includes campuses or instructional sites in the communities of Kokomo, Logansport, Peru, and Rochester. Ivy Tech serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association. For more information, visit www.ivytech.edu.
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