We were proud to partner with the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology (BFIT) this year thanks to a grant from the City of Boston Environmental Department. Nine guests of St. Francis House participated in a Technical Training Program through the BFIT Fundamentals of Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration (HVAC&R). Students earned a certificate in Fundamentals of HVAC&R and received ongoing support from St. Francis House to help them prepare for careers in this rapidly growing industry.
Program graduate Garth Ramos states, “It was an incredible experience. Our professor was so enthusiastic and really made us all want to learn; he made it fun to learn. HVAC is everywhere! In our homes, cars, and hospitals… Through the program, I was able to gain hands-on experience that I never would’ve been able to obtain otherwise.”
As part of this unique opportunity, students received free tuition worth over $8,000 accompanied by an HVAC&R tool kit to be used throughout the education process and to launch their careers. To be eligible, students had to be residents of Boston with lived experience of homelessness and/or recovery, be unemployed or underemployed with a strong desire for full-time work, and be referred by St. Francis House Workforce Development staff.
Our Employer Relations Specialist Dave Champa served as the primary liaison between the students, St. Francis House, and BFIT. He states, “Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology provides an excellent HVAC-R training program. They gave our adult students (many of whom had not been in class in years) the help, support, and encouragement they needed to successfully complete a highly technical program. They closely followed the training progress of students and were quick to intervene to address student difficulties.”
Upon completion of the program, Ramos has taken a momentous step in his career by securing an apprenticeship doing ventilation cleaning. He noted that he feels prepared for the apprenticeship thanks to his hands-on training and is excited to get started. “It’s all about being open to learning. This industry is all about learning and understanding the world. I really enjoy what I’m doing,” he said
We are thrilled to have partnered with BFIT throughout the duration of this program and are excited to see the various career paths different students will take thanks to this unique opportunity for training and education.