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PRCC’s HVAC students gain on-job experience

HATTIESBURG, Miss.  – One way Pearl River Community College students enhance their skill set is learning on the job training.

Three students in PRCC’s Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology (HVAC) program at the Forrest County Center are doing just that this semester with internships at local companies.

They are sophomores Michael Baney of Hattiesburg, James Mallard of Hattiesburg and Gordon Torrey of McComb. 

Baney is interning at Bennett Heating and Air, Mallard is at American Air Specialists of Mississippi and Torrey at Bowman Heating and Air, all thanks to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

The HVAC program is a two-year program available at PRCC’s Poplarville and Forrest County locations. 

“For our students, the internship means they will be faced with real world scenarios in which they can put their knowledge from the shop and classroom to the test,” said Markus Tanner Peavy, HVAC instructor.

“It’s one thing to work in the shop at school every day, but a real-life situation brings another level to the game. While out in the elements, they learn from the people they are interning with. The students also learn more about customer interactions and how a daily work schedule is planned out. In some cases, these internships may lead to job offers.”

Baney, 29, from Houma, La., would like to work in the HVAC industry when he finishes school this semester.

“This internship has been a very rewarding experience for me,” he said. “We’ve done some things in the field, like cleaning coils and such, that we could not do in the classroom. I have learned a lot from just observing and doing on the job.” 

Mallard, 19, a graduate of Vaiden High School, has found his experience at PRCC to be a great opportunity.

“The things that excite me about being a PRCC student are my classes that I attend, and all that my instructors are willing to teach,” said Mallard, who is also a member of the National Technical Honors Society.

“I have learned many things at American Air Specialists, but I must say the most interesting thing is the commercial refrigeration aspect of the field, and also how to clean, maintain and repair a vast number of commercial and residential units.”

Torrey, 19, graduated from McComb High School and wants to work for an HVAC company. 

“During my time at Bowman heating and Air, I have serviced, cleaned and maintained residential air conditioning units,” he said. “Through this I’ve learned how to communicate with customers and work with others.”

Deloris Butler, PRCC WIN Case Manager, believes these internships are a large plus for PRCC students.

“This internship program gives students the opportunity to practice their skills in a real-world environment, build their professional network, and connect with prospective employers,” she said. 

Added Peavy, “For the HVAC program, these internships are a way for us to connect with people and businesses in the industry, and for our students to obtain some actual work experience. We look forward to offering many more internships in the future.”

  The PRCC WIOA Internship program is funded by a grant from the Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District (SMPDD). Interns are selected by instructors and paid through the grant.

If your organization is interested in participating in the PRCC Internship program, please contact Deloris Butler at 601-584-1946 for more information.