ARLINGTON, Va. - The Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute's annual instructor workshop will get a facelift when the 2006 session takes place April 5-7.

The HVACR and plumbing instructor workshop will move to the National Conference Center in Lansdowne, Va.

"After nine consecutive successful years at Marymount University in Arlington, Va., we needed to change," said Ray Mach, ARI director of education and training. "We could only accommodate 150 attendees and we wanted to grow both in number and quality."

ARI has also teamed up with the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors National Association and the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society in order to provide training that is more diverse.

"The new program won't change much," said Mach. "As usual, the three-day event will be kicked off by a meeting of the Council for Air-Conditioning Refrigeration Educators, an organization dedicated to HVACR instruction. But the CARE session is now scheduled as an all-day event with its own technical and instructional program."

The CARE meeting will be followed by site team leader instruction for those aspiring to assist or take part in the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Accreditation program. The first day will conclude with a chance for instructors to take ARI's industry competency exam, the North American Technician Excellence exam and the RSES exams.

The two-day technical and instructional program will consist of general sessions, breakout sessions, group sessions and evening activities.

"The biggest change is the evening activities and the breakout sessions," said Mach. "Attendees now have a choice, it is no longer a ‘lockstep' program. OEMs and organizations will be invited to set up booths in the center."

During both the welcoming reception and the following evening, attendees will be free to roam and get individual instruction and hands-on time at various displays.

For information, visit www.ari.org/edu/workshop.html.