By Nicole H. Holland

Reemerge is a 12-month reintegration program that uses employment, coaching, and entrepreneurship education to assist in combating the barriers of reentry for people after being in jail.

Th program is designed to fully prepare those who have been formerly incarcerated to work, complete technical training, prepare for licensure and to become self-employed. 

Last week, Reemerge program participants completed the second phase of their HVAC training. They are now in phase three of their training and officially halfway through the program.

In May, program participants began a 24-week program consisting of four phases at Midlands Technical College (MTC) in Columbia. This includes HVAC electrical operation and diagnostic, HVAC refrigeration cycle operation, heat pump operations and diagnostics and air flow design and measurement. So far, they have completed their entry level course work covering the electrical circuits for an HVAC system. They learned about the operation of HVAC units and how to troubleshoot them as it relates to the electrical components of the system. The students have also received training on understanding the components of the refrigeration cycle for an HVAC system, how it operates and how to troubleshoot the refrigeration cycle.

“These guys are a great group of guys,” MTC Instructor Jason Joyner said. “Once these young men receive their certificates of completion from all four phases and obtain an EPA technician’s certification and pass the State exam, then they will be excellent hires for any HVAC company.”

The United States’ Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established a mandatory program that requires all technicians to be certified before performing maintenance, service, repair, or disposal of an appliance that contains refrigerant chemicals. The agency has developed four types of certifications:

  • TYPE I – for servicing small appliances
  • TYPE II – for servicing high and very high-pressure appliances
  • TYPE III – for servicing low pressure appliances
  • UNIVERSAL – for servicing all appliances

To obtain certification, technicians must pass a closed-book proctored test which contains 25 questions about EPA regulations, and 25 questions on recycling procedures in the area in which they work.

“I know that some of these guys could pass their EPA technician’s certification now,” said Joyner. “And, completion of the MTC training program and passing the SC HVAC Examination will make them very desirable to employers.”

On July 8t a certificate ceremony was held for at Midlands Technical College’s Academic Center Program to honor participants for completing their first phase of comprehensive training in the HVAC Program. “This is exciting for me,” program participant Rob Brown said. “The classes go by quickly, but Jay is a good instructor. He really explains things so that you can understand them. Each time we finish a phase, I want my certificate. I need that piece of paper.”

There will be a final graduation ceremony in the fall, when the program participants complete all phase of training.