Skilled trade careers offer steady work because people will always need plumbing, heating and cooling in their homes and offices. In addition, many people love to work with their hands. The team at Peterman Brothers recognizes this, and in October of 2020 they began Peterman Top Tech Academy, their own internal trade school that offers both HVAC and plumbing courses. Offered twice per year in the spring and fall, Top Tech is a five-month accelerated program where students undergo a mix of classroom learning, hands-on training and field experience. Applicants who are accepted into the program choose to study either plumbing or HVAC, depending on their area of interest.
During the academy, students ride with technicians for job shadowing. They also partner with other students to do inspection calls. Over time they graduate to having their own van and doing customer calls.
This month they will open the application process for next semester, which will start the first week of September. Currently, they take 12 plumbing students and 15 HVAC students per semester. It’s a highly competitive program, and as word has spread, interest has grown. The first semester, 600 people applied. Last semester, that number doubled.
“We take the top 2%,” says Dani Wernert, learning and development specialist.
If you think you don’t have a shot of making it because you didn’t graduate in the top 2% of your high school class, think again.
“Applicants need not have experience in the trade specifically,” Wernert says. “We’re looking at personality and behaviors. We want to know that you’re going to treat our customers right.”
They study Patrick Lencioni’s book, “The Ideal Team Player,” which focuses on three factors – being humble, hungry and smart.
“It’s like a three-legged stool,” Wernert says. “If you have two of the virtues but not three, that stool is going to fall over.”
Applicants must be 18 or older, with a high school GED or equivalency.
The most common feedback they get from applicants is that they’re seeking job security.
“We also hear, ‘My dad was a plumber,’ or, ‘I helped my grandpa work out in the garage,’ or, ‘I really like working with my hands,’” Wernert says.
After applying, candidates complete a phone screen with the recruiting team. Wernert shares a recorded video that outlines expectations of the students as well as what the students can expect from the program.
“That’s got a lot of critical information that can make or break their decision on whether to accept an offer,” Wernert says.
In-person interviews follow. Applicants will either get accepted into the program, put on a wait list or be asked to apply the next semester.
One huge draw to the program is that Peterman Brothers pays students.
“While they’re in school with us, they’re getting paid an hourly rate,” Wernert says. “It’s a full-time job. They are Peterman Brothers employees with us on day-one of school.”
In addition, students graduate with a guaranteed job. They make an 18-month commitment to Peterman Brothers and if they fulfill that commitment, tuition is paid as well.
“We’ve found that it’s absolutely worth the investment,” Wernert says. “Every new class impresses us.”
Peterman Top Tech Academy is located at 5240 Commerce Circle in Indianapolis, IN. For more information, call 317-620-0867. To apply for Peterman Brothers’ TopTech Academy, visit petermantoptech.com.