When Kendall Merriweather walked into Galveston College’s Quickstart+ Grant Navigator Sharon Pagan’s office last August, he was working part-time at a Galveston Island Family Dollar store.
In 2019, Merriweather, his wife and three children moved to Galveston to follow his wife’s dream to experience island living. Earlier in 2020, he lost his job following a reduction in force due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After that experience, he said he wanted to expand his technical skills and begin a new career. He said a friend sent him a screenshot of a Quickstart+ advertisement, and he wanted to register for the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Helper training program. He said he was eager to enter a high-demand, high-growth industry where he had the potential to provide financial stability for his family.
Merriweather enrolled in the eight-week training session last September and successfully completed the training in mid-November. He was one of nine students to pass the Universal Section 608 Technician Certification examination on how to responsibly handle refrigerants by the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Recycling and Emission Reduction Program.
He was hired by Bosworth Air Conditioning and Heating in April 2021 as an HVAC Helper and continues to learn as he works alongside an experienced HVAC technician. He is now eligible to participate in a health insurance plan and says he will also be able to participate in the company’s retirement plan when he reaches his one-year work anniversary.
Funded with a Foundational Skills for Construction Career Pathways Grant, the Quickstart+ programs are designed to help individuals find entry-level jobs in the fast-growing HVAC and electrical industries.
In the 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 must purchase their own steel-toed boots and personal protective equipment.
An individual applying to a Quickstart+ program must
–be age 18 or older. (Proof of age is required such as driver’s license or birth certificate.)
–be a United States citizen or certified to work in the United States. (A Social Security card or original I-9 documentation is required.)
–meet United States military Selective Service registration requirements, if male. (Student must present Registration Acknowledgment Card at the time of enrollment.)
–have access to a working computer and the internet.
–have steel-toed boots and personal protective equipment (mask or face covering).
Following acceptance into the program, an applicant must meet with Pagan and bring required documents.
For more information, please visit https://gc.edu/continuing-education/quickstartplus/ and contact Sharon Pagan at (409) 944-1410 or firstname.lastname@example.org.