HVAC Student Excels in Co-op Position with CTC Grad

January 31, 2024

In HVAC Instructor, Mike Arnt’s 8 years of teaching at the CTC, 2023 is the first time he has had a female student, Elizabethtown Senior Abbie Hanlon, stick with the program. Mr. Arnt hopes It’s a sign of things to come, as more female students become interested in the programs offered through the Construction Careers Center at the Brownstown Campus. While Abbie may be the lone woman in a busy class full of young men, Mr. Arnt is proud of the leadership role she has taken in the classroom, and her drive to learn more every day.

Abbie as a Junior in Electromechanical Engineering

Abbie first came to the CTC as a Junior, in the Electro-mechanical Engineering program. She knew she wanted to pursue a career in the trades, but her parents were initially hesitant. They didn’t want her to miss out at opportunities at her home school or for post-secondary education. Abbie however remained undeterred, and her success has proven the jump to the CTC was the right choice for her. As a junior in a full-year program she excelled, and decided to enroll in the HVAC program following a tour of the Brownstown campus. In her senior year in the HVAC program Abbie has found her niche. Mr. Arnt describes Abbie as tough but not rough around the edges, she is not afraid to say what is on her mind, and has gotten more confident in her skills throughout the year.

When it came time for Abbie to start her co-op, she chose J.K. Mechanical, and was paired with CTC HVAC grad, Caleb Keebler, another of Mr. Arnt’s stand-out students, as her mentor. Caleb came to the CTC from Warwick, and graduated from the HVAC program in 2019. During his time at the CTC Caleb traveled to the Skills USA National competitions and won bronze in HVAC competing against 29 competitors from trade schools across the county. He completed his co-op at Brubaker, and went on to JK. Mechanical at the tail end of 2019. Caleb will also be joining the HVAC Operational Advisory Committee (OAC) in the spring.

Abbie, Mr Arnt, and Caleb

Abbie says her work at J.K. Mechanical has been challenging, but she has learned a lot. Much of the CTC HVAC program focuses on residential systems. In her new role at J.K Mechanical, she has had the opportunity to work with geothermal units in commercial buildings. She adds that Caleb has been a great mentor because he is patient and gently pushes her to try new things, but doesn’t expect perfection on the very first try. Caleb adds that Abbie thinks ahead on more complicated jobs, and uses her breadth of knowledge to think critically and problem-solve. He also says that of those he has trained on the job, the CTC graduates stand a head above. Caleb says that fact is a testament to Mr. Arnt’s hands-on, quality instruction.

Following her graduation in the Spring, Abbie plans to continue working in HVAC. In the meantime, she plans to stay true to her commitment to Career & Technical Education. She says “I don’t lose any of my opportunities.” She will continue to make the most of her time at the CTC and in her co-op. Reflecting on Abbie’s trajectory Mr. Arnt happily says “She is definitely going places.”

Abbie Working in the HVAC Lab

Abbie is not the only HVAC student looking forward to a fruitful career. This year, out of 22 students, 20 were signed up with companies for co-op in November of 2023. Mr. Arnt says that the two remaining aren’t far behind. For students to be eligible to work with a company during their program hours, they must earn and maintain a B or higher-grade average, maintain a 95% attendance rate, and have no level 2 discipline referrals. They must also earn a recommendation from their instructor. To have 90% of all students maintain those requirements so early in the year is a testament to their dedication and to their instructor. We can’t wait to see what these students do next, and hope to welcome them back like Caleb to be inspiring figures to future CTC students.

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