After listening to business and industry feedback, Northwest Technical College launched a new 60-credit commercial refrigeration diploma in the fall of 2018. Now, John Kenny has joined the ranks as the lead instructor for the program.
With a nationwide projected job growth of 13.6 percent and a median pay of $25 per hour, Kenny is ready for the challenge of teaching the next generation.
“I’m excited to be teaching at NTC,” he said. “After 40 years of working in refrigeration, this feels like I’m giving back to the trade.”
Kenny hails from Tampa, Florida where his father owned a family plumbing and heating business. Here, he learned about the importance of customer service in the industry.
“I’m incorporating people skills into all of my classes,” he said. “Things like how to talk to people and answer questions from customers. I think that’s really important, especially in young employees.”
In addition to people skills, students pursuing a diploma in commercial refrigeration at NTC will learn and train with state-of-the-art equipment due to a $185,000 grant from Bemidji’s George W. Neilson Foundation.
Kenny, along with students in the program, are enjoying the training opportunities that the new equipment provides.
“Our brand-new training equipment is all electronic and allows me to simulate a problem just by flipping a switch,” Kenny said. “Everything is connected to an app on my phone that connects to a big TV screen in our classroom. We can see all of the pressure and temperature gauges on the screen and solve the problem together in class.”
Sixty percent of the commercial refrigeration program instruction takes place in classrooms and forty percent occurs in hands-on training and field environments allowing students to learn in multiple ways. The program is designed to provide training and coursework that directly correlates to business and industry requests with students in the program taking courses in electrical theory, advanced electronics and motor controls along with specialized coursework exploring commercial refrigeration systems and equipment.
“My goal is to give the students a solid base of basic troubleshooting abilities so they are ready for any job after their training,” Kenny said. “I want future employers to be proud of NTC’s training program.”