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Chris: Learning is a win-win situation


Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2024, at 3:32 PM

Chris came to VAL as a determined individual ready to embark on the journey to a new career through our Energy Works training program.

Coming from a background in grounds maintenance and lawn care, Chris found himself at a crossroads in his career. Seeking stability and growth, he turned to HireAbility for guidance, where he was referred to Energy Works for the opportunity to engage in heat pump and weatherization training. Chris was then introduced to Jeff Nerney, Energy Works Program Manager, who enrolled him in a weatherization course held in partnership with BROC Community Action in Rutland. 

Chris enjoyed the weatherization course so much he continued to pursue Heat Pump training, honing his skills to gain a deeper understanding of energy efficiency techniques.

 “Chris was fully engaged during weatherization and heat pump installation training,” Jeff shared. “He asked great questions of the instructors, and he was very supportive of the other training participants. Chris’s scores on the EPA 608 certification exam may have been the highest I have seen!”

“I happened to be in a really good class,” Chris said. “Everyone got along, we hung out on our breaks. Keeping the instructors engaged with questions was fun across both trainings. I was part of a very inquisitive cohort,” he shared of the experience.

Through a blend of classroom instruction and hands-on practice, Energy Works trainers helped participants navigate the complexities of weatherization and heat pump systems.

“The instructors were excited about their professions, which helped get participants engaged,” Chris continued. “In Heat Pump training, we learned extensively through repetition the ins and outs of how refrigeration works. So you’re getting a really useful, actionable education on that EPA certification path. The instructors give you a really good run-through of what you’re going to be working with.”

Now equipped with OSHA 10, CPR/First Aid/AED, and EPA 608 Universal Certifications, Chris is employed by Hildebrand Homes where he conducts weatherization audits and contributes to home renovation projects. For Chris, the opportunity to apply his training in a real-world setting has been immensely rewarding.

When asked what he would tell someone if they were considering pursuing Energy Works just one thing, Chris had this to say: “Learning is a win-win situation. Whether you decide to embark on either of these professions, you’re going to learn something and they’re good skills to have, generally. Complying with residential energy standards will be the norm so learning this early on if you’re working with your hands in construction, you now have a transferable skill.”

Chris’s story serves as a testament to the transformative power of training and education. Through our programs, we’re committed to empowering individuals like Chris with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in today’s workforce.


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