three people and a big check
John Easterling of Coldwell Banker (left) and Natalie Edwards of eXp Realty (right) present BCCC president Dr. David Loope with a check to start a new scholarship to help train more people for housing trades.

New scholarship helps students in housing trades

Thanks to a donation from the Washington-Beaufort County Board of Realtors to the Beaufort County Community College Foundation, students interested in trades related to housing, including HVAC technician and residential wiring, will have new access to classes. The Board of Realtors wanted to help new technicians to get into the field as these positions are in high demand. The $500 donation is available to cover fees and textbooks.

“We held a crappy fishing tournament to raise the funds because we see the need for more technicians constantly,” said realtor Natalie Edwards. Seven boats participated in spite of cold and rainy weather. A resurgence in the housing market has meant that plumbers, electricians, and HVAC technicians are needed to inspect, repair, renovate, and install systems into new and existing housing. The need for such technicians is not new, as many retired or left the field during the housing market crash in 2008. The disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic only worsened this shortage. This shortage combined with supply chain disruptions has meant that new construction and repairs on existing housing is backlogged.

BCCC offers a three-part HVAC Technician program for students interested in learning to install and repair heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. The classes are offered every semester and all three can be completed in one year. This program is covered by the Beaufort Promise program, meaning it is free, but scholarships such as the one from the Board of Realtors can help cover the cost of textbooks and testing fees. HVAC classes begin on August 3.

BCCC will offer Residential Wiring starting August 16. The single class is an introduction into electrical work, including reading, planning, and laying out new and existing wiring and conduits. Students interested in the much longer process for full licensure would need to consult with the North Carolina Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors. This class is not covered under the guidelines of the Beaufort Promise program unless taken as part of the two-year Electrical Engineering Technology program, but the Board of Realtors Scholarship could be used for the class, along with other scholarships.

While the Beaufort Promise program takes existing and new federal and state funding to help students earn a degree, diploma, or certificate for free, the BCCC Foundation will continue to play an important role in filling gaps in funding and helping students overcome economic hurdles. Local businesses and employers, such as realtors, schools, manufacturers, and hospitals, have made it clear through their interest and their contributions that they are enthusiastically looking for new, skilled employees, and through the BCCC Foundation and the Beaufort Promise, BCCC hopes to respond to that need by opening access to education to a broader range of residents.

To register for HVAC Technician or Residential Wiring, call 252-940-6375.