AUSTIN, Texas — The Round Rock Chamber of Commerce has made it a bit easier for you to receive a certification and an increase in your income within four months.

They have paired up with Austin Community College (ACC) and Round Rock ISD to offer a four-month trade certification course. This course offers valued trade skills for jobs in high demand – heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and plumbing.

Through this partnership, ACC provides the curriculum, instructors and equipment, Round Rock ISD provides the facility, and the chamber recruits companies to interview program participants for post-certification hiring.

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Luis Castillo, the program coordinator, described the course as a "win-win" for both employers and the students. 

"We provide what the industry needs, we provide what the students need to have a better job, better life," Castillo said. "I see so many happy faces because (the students) have a job already."

Since their first course in October 2017, the chamber and its partners have held six HVAC classes and one plumbing class with more than 100 participants. The majority of the students received their certificate and were offered a job immediately.

"If you're looking for something to make quick money and move up real quick, this is where you need to be," said former student Robert Noe.

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Noe is now an HVAC apprentice with Comfort Systems USA. He said had he not enrolled in the program, he would still be at his old job as an ice skating rink manager. He said he now has benefits and a 401(k). 

"I wasn't expecting to really get a job out of it, I was just expecting to further my knowledge at my old job and I was just, 'let me take this class, see what it's all about and get some knowledge,'" Noe said. "It was an eye-opening experience and I enjoyed it a lot more than I was expecting to, learned a lot and got me where I am now."

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Scotti Woolery-Price, the vice president of marketing and operations at the Round Rock Chamber of Commerce, said that many of these jobs pay upwards of $18 to $19 per hour. She also said that the program offers a scholarship through Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area to eligible students who want to participate but struggle with the cost, allowing them to receive the training that they need and "get into a position right away at no cost."

The current HVAC class started on Aug. 20 and will continue until Dec. 19. Classes are held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings starting at 6 p.m. and on Saturdays at 8 a.m.

The next plumbing program will begin on Oct. 15 with the last class scheduled for Feb. 20.

For more info contact program director Luis Castillo at luis.castillo@austincc.edu.

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