HVAC Program Led to Great Career for 22-Year-Old

Josiah Shortridge is just 22-years-old, but the facility operator HVAC technician is already thriving in his career.

He recently completed the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) trades course offered through Laurel Ridge Workforce Solutions. Shortridge earned his Level 4 certificate over the winter.

Because of the bonus hours he earned while out working during the course, he was able to get to the journeyman level in two years instead of four.

The Culpeper County resident was homeschooled before enrolling in the Workforce Solutions course.

“Both of my grandfathers influenced my decision in pursuing a career in HVAC,” Shortridge said. “My dad’s father, Frank Shortridge, retired from Fort Belvoir. He worked on chillers and boilers, and later at GTE as the ‘air conditioner man.’ He had numerous certifications.

“My mother’s father, Bill Ensor, retired from York International in Pennsylvania He was a plant machinist who made industrial air conditioning. I spent a lot of time with my Papaw Bill, walking in the woods and talking about how mechanical things work.”

Knowing he could finish the accelerated program in two years, rather than four, he enrolled in the trades course at Workforce Solutions.

“I worked for two different HVAC companies installing units for the public while taking the course,” Shortridge said. “I really appreciated the Workforce Solutions HVAC program because I was at a time in my life where I lacked direction. The program moved me in a forward direction.”

Thanks to FastForward funding, the course cost him one-third of the full price.

“I want to continue my education, and I would recommend this program because it benefited me so much,” Shortridge said. “I liked that it was an accelerated class, and it’s pretty cheap.”

Shortridge was hired by Micron Technology in October 2018.

“I love my job,” he said. “They treat me well. It has good benefits and good hours. My goal is to stay with Micron and see where they want me, whether it’s engineering or management.”

Soon, Shortridge will apply to sit for his journeyman exam.

The average salary for heating and air conditioning mechanics and installers, as well as for refrigeration mechanics and installers, is $54,780, according to data from EMSI.

“The demand for HVAC technicians is so great that any of our students who want to be employed coming out of Level 1 of our course can be,” said Workforce Solutions Program Manager Tracey O’Leary.

Learn more about Workforce Solutions’ trades courses by visiting laurelridgeworkforce.com/apprenticeship.

Are you inspired by Shortridge’s story? Would you like to help other students like him? Please consider making a gift to the Laurel Ridge Educational Foundation at laurelridge.edu/donate