For almost as long as I’ve been covering HVAC and sheet metal, there’s been handwringing about the industry’s aging workforce.

HVAC work, especially installation, means often crawling around and through tight spaces in conditions that are not always comfortable. It’s not a job many people do until they’re 70. But it pays reasonably well, and the most skilled HVAC and sheet metal workers can earn a very good living.

The reasons for the worker shortage have been discussed many times here and in other industry publications: HVAC is not an industry well-understood by the public, there’s still a bias against industries where a four-year degree is not a prerequisite and HVAC has historically done a poor job rebutting those beliefs and advancing itself.

This is why I was surprised and impressed recently to hear radio ads promoting a career as an HVAC technician on a major local radio station. I don’t see or hear a lot of TV or radio ads for HVAC companies — both mediums are quite expensive — but I’d never heard of one specifically promoting industry careers.

The ad, one of several that the company is running on the station, pointed out the good pay and benefits an industry career can offer, along with the chance to avoid much of the seasonal work fluctuations common in construction. 

It’s the most I’ve heard HVAC work as a career discussed on a mainstream media outlet in some time. I’ll be curious to hear if the campaign is successful.

What are companies in your area doing to boost the industry's workforce?