INDIANAPOLIS — While the pandemic can be a difficult time for many Hoosiers in their careers, the changes brought on by COVID-19 are also helping many to recognize that it is time for a career pivot.
Kari Clendenning worked in the Lafayette area manufacturing semi trucks for more than 18 years. Through the pandemic, she coped with some procedural changes to her workflow and then one day came across an ad on a website that checked all the boxes for what she is looking for in a fulfilling career.
So she applied for the Peterman Top Tech Academy in Indianapolis run by Peterman HVAC & Plumbing.
“I just wanted a different opportunity. I wanted to be able to learn something a little more hands-on, a little bit more specialized," says Clendenning. "And I wanted to find a way that I could serve people and customers.”
In a competitive pool of applicants, Kari was selected to participate in a class of 16 people that started in early October. It is a four-month training program where participants learn the skills they need to work on HVAC and plumbing equipment.
Clendenning will graduate from the program in the new year and will be on her way to a new career in the skilled trades. She is confident that she will have the skills needed to be successful in this stable and essential industry.
“We’ll learn stuff practically like in the classroom, and then we will come out hands-on in the lab, and we will tear things apart and put it back together,” says Clendenning. "I feel great! This place has built a really great atmosphere to practice new skills and master those skills, so I feel like once I graduate and head on out into the field that I’m confident, I feel good about it."
Chad Peterman is the president and tells WRTV that they have made adjustments to the program due to COVID-19. The curriculum is taught in a virtual matter, and class and lab sizes are small.
“We’ve adapted as best we can,” says Peterman. “I think the important thing is we are getting the training in that we need to get in, and then hopefully, at some point in time, we can get back to something of what we originally planned for.”
The pandemic has highlighted for workers the demand for people in the skilled trades and that those positions are essential and needed regardless of other business restrictions.
“The need is very great., says Peterman. "And I would say the need is to find really great people.”
That's why through this program Peterman Top Tech Academy recruits what they consider to be great people with potential to be great workers and the academy teaches them the specific skills they need to be successful and the participants do not have to choose between making money and getting this training for a career pivot.
The Top Tech Academy training is FREE and participants in the program are paid as Peterman employees.
Peterman says this helps people with the resources they need to complete the training and make the change.
“I think oftentimes, ya know, being a plumber of being a HVAC technician can be looked at as just a job or something like that. And I think it's important to understand that it can definitely be a career and one that is really rewarding,” says Peterman.
For Clendenning, the training is already changing her life.
“If you have a little bit of interest get into it, and if you get into this class, just absorb everything. Soak it all in,” says Clendenning. “It already has changed my life and in the future, I mean, going through training like this, once I step out into the field, like I'm going to have confidence that I can do my job.”
Peterman says this training with their Top Tech Academy is building a better workforce and morale for their family-owned business.
“You have a skill, you feel empowered. And empowering people is the key I think to growing a business,” says Peterman. “To me, when you arm somebody with a skills set, there's really nothing that can stop them.”
You can apply for the Peterman Top Tech Academy right now. They will start making offers in January.
You can visit petermantoptech.com to apply and find more information.