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Charlotte company starts apprenticeship program to help fill openings

Most industries are competing for top talent, including a growing need for people to work in the trades.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — People who have been in the trades are leaving, so now the heating and air industry needs new talent to continue servicing the ongoing demand for service.

A Charlotte-based company, Sky HVAC, is now offering an earn-to-learn opportunity to attract and keep skilled workers.

According to Sky's apprentice program director, Mack Pressley, it's an option for those who want to work right out of high school.

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"If you go to a community college, you still have to pay for the courses and the program, which could result in student debt," Pressley said. "Here, you have a guaranteed job when you get out. You're paid through all the training. And it's top-notch accredited from a company who has loads of experience that's backing us up."

One of Sky's first apprentices, Solo Pinno Bridges, said it's the reason he signed up.

Bridges said, "I talked to a couple people who were in HVAC and they gave me the lowdown, and I figured it was something I was able to do and to accomplish, so I just took the career path."

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Apprentice, Elisabeth Dunn, told WCNC she decided to sign up because she wanted a career change.

"I've been in emergency services last 12, 13 years and wanted to be on a better schedule, be home with my family more," Dunn said.

Pressley said qualified candidates are well-rounded.

He said, "We're looking for go-getters, people who are not scared to open up the books again, to go back and learn, as well as good personal skills."

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Sky's Chief Operating Officer, Matt Stewart, added, "We're a growing company and we're spreading through the Carolinas. We're going to have opportunities here that they won't have at other heating and air conditioning companies."

The apprentice program is three years long with in-the-field training six weeks after classroom learning.

Pay starts at $16 an hour and increases after the initial six weeks to $18. Within three years, apprentices can make about $25 an hour with full benefits.

Next class session will start on October 15. Click here to apply.

Contact Jane Monreal at jmonreal@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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