Johnson Controls has opened its new, state-of-the-art Ducted Systems Academy in Oklahoma City, OK, offering commercial and residential HVAC training. The 30,000 square-foot training facility features two large classrooms and two extensive training labs, offering remote and hands-on classes, including virtual reality training.

The virtual reality training places students in real-life field conditions, such as on a roof servicing a large commercial rooftop unit, or in a residential home installing a gas furnace or air conditioning system. This simulates real-life experiences without having to be in close physical contact with the instructor.

“It’s estimated that by 2028, 4.6 million manufacturing jobs will be left unfilled, with more than half due to retirements,” said Scott Nelmark, director, ducted systems learning & development, Johnson Controls. “In order to help fill this gap, Johnson Controls remains dedicated to training the next generation of the HVAC workforce, which the Ducted Systems Academy will help fuel through cutting-edge training.”

At the Academy, training is provided for technical, sales, leadership and professional development disciplines. Participants learn best practices and tools for success in the HVAC industry, including how to:

  • Partner with customers and understand their needs to best position products and services to win their business;
  • Properly select and apply Ducted Systems products;
  • Efficiently install, set up and service Ducted Systems equipment from 1.5 to 150 tons of capacity;
  • Manage their schedule and their team of employees; and
  • Work through difficult situations, such as disruptions related to COVID-19.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Johnson Controls increased the number of remote courses offered and launched LabStreaming courses. During these live virtual classes attended by hundreds of customers each session, distance learners are provided instruction as if they were present in the lab. For technical courses, procedures are demonstrated on live residential and commercial equipment, with participants able to ask questions and engage with the instructor in real-time.

“I have never seen competitors' equipment unless it was installed already in a home. Being able to stack them up side-by-side and compare the pros and cons made me feel much better about the competition that’s out there,” said Shannon Easton, comfort specialist, B. Carlson Heating Cooling and Plumbing, when discussing a Ducted Systems Academy equipment course. “I believe in Johnson Controls and this course solidified it for me. I would recommend this to any salesperson in the industry.”

In-person classes, which are limited to nine students each, are also provided in the two large training labs and classrooms, where masks and social distancing are required. The training labs feature all residential and commercial equipment that is manufactured at Johnson Controls facilities in Norman, OK, and Wichita, KS, for YORK, Luxaire, Coleman, Champion, TempMaster and Fraser-Johnston. For residential, this includes all gas furnaces, air handlers, heat pumps, air conditioning systems and packaged equipment. The commercial systems used in the training center range from smaller 3-6 ton packaged rooftop units to the newly expanded 25-80 ton Premier platform.