Southwest-based trade school helping veterans transition to civilian careers

Southwest

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) — A Southwest-based trade school says they’re ready to help train more veterans to get back into the workforce through its programs.

With plenty of military bases surrounding the school, they say they’re ready to help train those getting out of the military.

Perfect Technician Academy trains students to become HVAC technicians, and much of their student population is made up of veterans. The trade school is a bit different than most.

“It was designed by a Marine who has worked in the air conditioning field for 25-plus years,” said Dr. Thomas Moorman, the school director. “It’s a full-immersion training program.”

Much of their population is made up of veterans transitioning from the service to the civilian workforce. It’s something Moorman says he knows all too well.

“I grew up in a military family. My father served from 1941 to 1975 and I still remember when we moved off the base in 1975,” said Moorman. “My dad was 52 years old, thinking, ‘I’ve led all these troops, I’m going to be able to go out and be a leader in the community,’ and he struggled and struggled and things didn’t turn out the way he expected.”

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The academy says the technical line of work is ideal for a lot of people transitioning out of the military and wondering, ‘what’s next?’ Moorman says getting involved in the trades is the perfect next step.

“There’s not a lot of opportunities for a patriot missile systems technician in a community, so we can take the skills they have – the technical skills – and the ability to understand electronics and circuits and transition that skill into something they can use,” said Moorman. “The trades is a great opportunity, especially for some of these guys who are infantrymen, helicopter repairmen.”

The immersive training is six days a week over six weeks and costs around $15,000. Class sizes are kept small so students can learn as much as possible in that short time.

“They actually take the time,” said Moorman. “Veterans that have certain issues like PTSD and anxiety, actually take the time to make sure that you understand the work before you go and move onto the next circuit.”

The school is based in Texas, but almost all of the students that attend are from out-of-state, including some from nearby New Mexico. With the state home to military bases like Kirtland, Cannon, and Hollomon, they hope more New Mexico veterans will consider attending the school when they get out of the service.

“It becomes a very familiar situation for them, which they tend to excel in as well,” said Moorman. “New Mexico is much like Texas. You have some hot summers and you need to have that air conditioning in the summer but you have colder winters than we do too.”

The school also accepts students from other industries, like those with experience in the oil fields. The school works with students to get them placed with HVAC contractors wherever they want to move next.

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