Seven Galveston College Quickstart+ students recently passed the Universal Section 608 Certification exam following an intensive eight-week training program in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC-R).

Section 608 of the Clean Air Act requires that all persons who maintain, service, repair or dispose of appliances that contain regulated substances be certified in proper refrigerant handling techniques.

Instructor Karen Alsept said this is the largest Quickstart+ student group to pass the Universal Section 608 exam in the three-year history of the training program.
“Our instructor, Karen Alsept, welcomed 13 students into the classroom Sept. 21, where they received a mixture of online and face-to-face instruction,” said Sharon Pagan, grant navigator for Quickstart+.

“Classes met Mondays through Thursdays for five hours each night, and students completed classes in Shop Practices and Tools, Basic Electrical for HVAC, Refrigeration Principles, OSHA 10 Construction and Professional Behaviors.”

Over the course of instruction, students had the opportunity to complete an eight-module National Center for Construction and Education Research (NCCER) core curriculum, as well as the 10-hour Construction Safety and Health Certification from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The Quickstart+ program also provided Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Recycling and Emission Reduction Program study guides to help students become knowledgeable about Section 608 environmental issues with regard to the proper handling of refrigerants.

Seven of the 13 HVAC-R students paid to take the national exam through the ESCO Institute in Mt. Prospect, Illinois. To earn Universal certification, HVAC-R students had to demonstrate proficiency in the NCCER Core Curriculum, Type I, Type II and Type III certification requirements.

Those earning certifications included John Bertolino, Michael Busby, Oscar Franco, Justin Hulsey, Kendall Merriweather, Randy Ramirez and Rodrigo Sanchez.

Funded with a Foundational Skills for Construction Career Pathways Grant, the Quickstart+ programs at Galveston College are designed to help individuals find entry-level jobs in the fast-growing HVAC and electrical industries.

In the eight-week programs, students are presented with the basics of a trade, including safety procedures, proper tool usage, regulations, codes and more. They also receive career counseling and job placement assistance.

Tuition is free for those accepted into the programs. However, students purchase their own steel-toed boots and personal protective equipment.

For more information, please contact Sharon Pagan at The next classes begin in February.