LWTC Apprenticeship Program Kicks Off in Naples!
Lorenzo Walker Technical College (LWTC), Naples, FL, began its inaugural apprenticeship program in October 2020 with a full class of 20 first-year students. LWTC started its full-time day HVAC program in 2016, and under the direction of Ms. Yolanda Flores, Administrative Director of Postsecondary and Adult and Community Education the program has been expanding ever since. “The number one concern we hear from HVAC contractors is the lack of workforce ready technicians to fill the job openings they have,” stated Ms. Flores. “This program is a natural fit bringing local employers and LWTC together in a true educational partnership that will help fill that gap.”
“The LWTC apprenticeship program is off to a great start due to the support of local HVAC contractors and businesses,” stated Bruce Rutila, Apprenticeship Coordinator. “LWTC is already exploring ways to expand the apprenticeship program in 2021.” The LWTC apprenticeship program is registered through the Florida Department of Education and is subject to compliance with all federal regulations under the Department of Labor. The program combines paid employment with classroom and on-the-job training, and, as skills are mastered, hourly pay rate increases. Upon successful completion of the three-year, one night a week program, including 6,000 OJT hours, students earn a Completion of Apprenticeship from Florida Department of Education, a NCCER certificate, 608 EPA universal certification opportunities, the title of Journeyman and are among the best-trained HVAC professionals. The LWTC HVAC Apprenticeship Program is tuition free to the employer or employee.
Instructors David Jones and Larry Croy follow a curriculum based on employer needs. Second and third year class content has been developed and is ready to be implemented. Students who have qualifying work experience, knowledge of the trade and meet certain other criteria may qualify to enter the program as a second year apprentice.
About the Instructors
David Jones founded Jones Air Conditioning and Electric in June 1985 in Naples, committing himself to a lifelong passion for the air conditioning industry. He holds a Class-A Air Conditioning and Heating license and an Unlimited Electrical license and attributes his success to hard work, seeking innovation and treating his customers with respect and integrity. David’s passion for education led to establishing the David Jones YouTube channel several years ago. “We never expected to get over a million views, but somehow we have surpassed the 24 million mark. We love what we do and are proud to continue to educate homeowners and technicians throughout the United States and the World. I’m very excited to be a part of the LWTC apprenticeship program, giving back to the industry that has been so good to me.”
Larry Croy founded Croy’s Heating and Cooling in Michigan over 25 years ago. Larry served a four-year apprenticeship in Detroit Local 80, and he understands the value of a quality apprenticeship program. In addition to owning his own HVAC business Larry was also an instructor at two Michigan colleges before moving to Naples. Once in Naples, Larry brought his skills and expertise to LWTC as the full-time HVAC instructor for the day program. Larry is responsible for “reviving” the program and assisting with its continued growth. According to Larry, “Giving every student the opportunity to succeed” is most rewarding.
LWTC first opened on August 28, 1974 under the name Collier County Vocational Technical Center, offering thirteen programs. The school became accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) in December of 1978. In 1988, the school’s name was changed to the James Lorenzo Walker Vocational Technical Center, in honor of James Lorenzo Walker, a former legislator who was instrumental in obtaining original funding for the school. The summer of 2015 ushered in yet another name change as the school earned the credentials to be known as Lorenzo Walker Technical College.
For over forty years, LWTC has lived up to its mission of providing rigorous and relevant educational experiences that prepare students with both the academic and technical skills necessary to succeed in their chosen careers. In its continued evolution to meet the needs of the community, business, and the workforce, LWTC, under the auspices of the District School Board of Collier County Career Planning Task Force, began planning strategically in 2004 to revamp its Career Education Program and develop a long-term plan for the District. The Career Planning Task Force issued a Comprehensive Career Education Plan which addressed staff need, curriculum development, counseling and marketing. As a result, in 2008, the Lorenzo Walker Technical High School opened on the campus, offering high school juniors and seniors an opportunity to attend certificate training programs. In August 2009, a nearly 200,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility, which houses all technical programs, opened its doors.
For more information regarding the apprenticeship program contact instructors Larry Croy or Dave Jones at (239) 377-0983 or visit LWTC.EDU.