BRUNSWICK — The Maine Energy Marketers Education Foundation received a $55,000 grant from the Propane Gas Association of New England to fund a $250,000 state-of-art expansion of the MEMA Technical Education Center, which will double student capacity and help meet a growing need in Maine for professional heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) technicians.
With nearly all Maine businesses and residences relying on heating and cooling systems, employment opportunities for MTEC graduates are plentiful. The school has a 95 percent placement rate, with most students placed finding employment before they graduate.
The expansion will help make the training lab the finest in New England with separate modern hands-on propane training space. The expansion will make it possible for the school to hire a second instructor.
“This industry has good-paying job opportunities, but not enough people entering the trade,” said Jamie Py, president, Maine Energy Marketers Association. “PGANE’s grant will help MTEC year-after-year produce certified technicians for the industry, and give hardworking people the chance to have a career.”
“This grant will provide New England with a state of the art public propane training facility, where students will obtain the hands-on skills they need to excel in our propane industry, said Leslie Anderson, president and CEO, PGANE. “We’re thrilled to be working with MTEC to attract the next generation of propane professionals to our thriving propane marketers here in New England.”
MEMA hopes the additional capacity and expanded training environment will develop a pipeline of high school graduates and veterans transitioning to civilian life, and provide a lifeline to technicians entering the school from troubled Maine industries. About 100 students are projected to graduate annually.
MTEC has broken ground on the new training center, and anticipates being finished in April.
Classes range from Plumbing 101 to Oil Technician Training, to A/C Refrigeration & Troubleshooting, to Propane and Natural Gas Appliance Install and Service. MTEC also provides a semester-long 450-hour HVAC Pro class that will prepare students to qualify for Maine State Licensing in an accelerated time frame. Completion of the 6-week Oilheat Technician Training course will eliminate six months of apprenticeship time required by the state for licensing. This program also provides students with nationally recognized Propane and natural gas certification and EPA Air Conditioning Certification.
MTEC is a member-financed, hands-on trade school and a 501(C)(3) nonprofit Education Foundation.