Friday morning, Round Rock ISD announced on KVUE that they will partner with Austin Community College and the Round Rock Chamber to offer a certification program that will allow students to get certified for plumbing or heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) before they even graduate high school.
Round Rock ISD employees, as well as adults from the community, will also be able to enroll in the program. The district said the classes will be held in an older building at Round Rock High School that currently is not being utilized.
As part of the partnership, ACC will provide the instructors and equipment for the classes, and the Round Rock Chamber is working on grant money for building improvements.
District Spokesman Corey Ryan said this helps address the needs of Central Texas.
“There has been an increase demand of about seven percent in the areas of plumbing and HVAC system alone in the last five years, so while unemployment continues to drop, less people in the workforce, available for work, and the need is going up, we feel that it is our due diligence as a school district to partner with local businesses to meet the needs of Central Texas,” said Ryan.
Another big part of the program, the Chamber of Commerce will also provide internships for the students, so they can get into the work force as quickly as possible after school.
"For students who want to get out and have a viable career right out of high school, it's a really good idea because HVAC, like in Texas, it's hot, we really do need people to work on them,” said Zachary Morton, a senior at Stony Point High School.
"I didn't want to go to college for the longest time because there was just no reason to cause of everything going on, in the long run it just seemed like there wasn't a whole lot of jobs available, but once I got into here and I kind of figured out everything, there's a ton of jobs out there, you just don't have to go to college for them, it saves you money and time and you make more money than most people coming out of college,” said Stony Point senior Gabe Avila.
The district will provide more details on the program Friday afternoon.