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Looking to the Future - Washburn Institute of Technology

Clark Coco The Midwest Training Center for Climate and Energy Control Technologies (MTC) located on the Washburn Institute of Technology campus opened its classroom doors in January. One of only two such training centers in the U.S., MTC looks to address the gap between education and industry workforce needs by incorporating advanced training and updating equipment to reflect the technological innovation in the HVAC industry.

“The average age of a HVAC technician is 55 years old,” said Clark Coco, dean of Washburn Tech. “We have to figure out how to replace all of those who will be retiring soon, and make sure our young technicians are properly trained.”

Coco brought the concept for the new training program with him when he became dean last June. After touring a similar program in Wisconsin, Coco was determined to put Washburn Tech at the forefront of the HVAC training industry. Grants through the Kansas Department of Commerce, the Kansas Board of Regents and Ingersoll Rand, provided funding to renovate the facility and upgrade equipment.

“We needed something to jumpstart the program and bring more interest to Washburn Tech,” Coco said. “This training center will definitely accomplish that.”

With only 16 openings each year, Coco envisions a program that will draw top students from across the region.

“We are changing the way we recruit,” Coco said. “We are going to actively seek out students who have a passion for this industry.”

Coco plans to make Washburn Tech the flagship technical college in the state where students aren’t just training for a job; they are investing in a career.

“We can place every student that comes through our doors,” Coco said.

From the Publisher - Spring 2013