Go to high school, learn a trade
Lance Cohen uses a cutting wheel to shorten a piece of ductwork as Dulaney High classmates (left to right) Zach Iacoboni and Xavier Engleton watch. Photo: Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun
At Baltimore County’s Dulaney High, students can learn a skilled trade, reports Jonathan Pitts in the Baltimore Sun. Students can go on to become heating, ventilation and air-conditioning technicians, a high-paying and booming field that doesn’t require a college degree.
“It’s satisfying to be able to diagnose problems, develop a plan and carry the plan to completion,” says Hailey Brennan, 16, who plans to become a mechanical engineer. The junior already is a certified air-conditioning technician.
Jamie Gaskin’s students design and build an air-conditioning system each year for a classroom.
They break into three groups: one to measure and cut sheet metal for a duct system, one to make and hang the ducts overhead, a third to shape, connect and install the five-eighths-inch copper tubing that will carry the refrigerants. Senior Zach O’Neill brings Gaskin a length of pipe he’s trying to bend to 90 degrees. Gripping it in a clamp and twisting hard, the teacher shows him how to create the crook without leaving too much ribbing in the metal. “Harder than it looks — thanks,” O’Neill says, and lumbers off.
At the end of the school year, Gaskin “coordinates meetings between his HVAC students and representatives from about a dozen local businesses.”