For every FOUR skilled workers leaving the construction industry…
only ONE enters to fill the gap.


It’s a well-known fact: The Construction Industry suffers from a lack of skilled workers entering the field. The current attrition rate coupled with the “Great Resignation” and lack of exposure to the benefits of trade careers  sets the stage for a bleak industry future. High demand jobs are here now but there is no one to train. Ultimately, consumers will pay the ultimate price – an increase in service costs and expanded wait times. 

In2015,GordyNoe,PresidentofPioneerHeatingandAirinTennesseerealizedheneededtoreachpotential new employees at an early age to expose the benefits of working in the trades. He created the “Ride and Decide” program so high school students would consider the trades as a career option. The program has seen success ever since and word has spread!


Part of the Problem: The Perception of Plumbing & HVAC Jobs.


The stigma of a plumbing career is the first obstacle to reaching today’s youth.
By providing an avenue for students to experience first-hand the life of a successful technician
WHILE getting paid…today’s youth can make informed decisions about future careers

Part of the Solution: PHCC Members Open Their Doors for Students!


Over the past several years, plumbing and HVAC contractors around the nation have helped
hundreds of high school students participate in the work-based learning program, Ride & Decide.
In 2022, the PHCC of Georgia is ready to ride along!


Program Purpose:

  • Give today’s youth hands-on exposure to real-life trade jobs by pairing them with qualified plumbing and HVAC contractors in a paid “pre- apprentice” internship. Students are exposed to real-life service calls, installs, and new construction projects. The experience supports the trade in opening the eyes of the next generation to fill the skills gap.


  • Inform high school administrators, teachers and counselors about the benefits of the program, particularly students already interested in the trades and those yet to identify a career path.


  • Educate students and their parents on the benefits of working in the construction industry, including: Organize a group of mentors including educators, contractors and administrators who dedicate time and energy to establish and maintain a long-lived successful work-based learning program. Although we are mainly affected by what happens in the HVAC and Plumbing industries, not all students will be interested in our trades, therefore this program must include all facets of the construction and service trades to attract as many students as possible and to be a success.
    • As an apprentice, you earn while you learn right out of high school, which can lead to earning a competitive wage in a high demand field in the same amount of time as a four-year degree.
    • The trades offer reduced education fees compared to an average college program.
    • There is minimal career obsolescence as society always needs plumbing, heating and cooling services.
    • Expanded opportunities for career advancement and owning your own business.


 Student Eligibility:


  • Complete the sophomore year of a high school program with a grade point average of “C” or better.
  • Be least 16 years of age before starting the program.
  • Provide a letter of recommendation by an educator, school administrator or PHCC member.
  • Have excellent school attendance and reliable transportation to and from work location.
  • Obtain parental permission with a Release for the PHCC and educational institution.
  • Adhere strictly to Employer Guidelines and to the state of Georgia’s Labor Laws for Children.


Results from Ride & Decide in Tennessee:


In a 2020 exit survey… ALL eligible students in the PHCC Tennessee Ride & Decide Program wanted to re-enroll into the following year. AND…ALL employers wanted to continue offering the program. The program succeeded in assisting student decisions, allowing them to consider the trades while in a paid internship position.


We heard from employers… What was the best part of Ride & Decide?


  • “Teaching fresh, excited, young students about our business.”
  • “Introducing someone new to the trade.”
  • “Students having the opportunity to experience the real work environment.”
  • “Having the opportunity to expose young people to our industry in respect to what the job entails as well as allowing them to see why they may enjoy the career.”
  • “A little extra help when we needed it! Both boys were willing workers.”




We heard from students…What was the best part of Ride & Decide?


  • Getting to learn about different trades.”
  • “Working hands on to try it- was great!”
  • “I learned how everything works from the field to the office to using equipment.”
  • “I learned to weld, make ducts, change filters and then went to job sites on deliveries to see how stuff worked and fit together.”
  • “I want to work at this company when I graduate next year.”
  • “Did service calls on AC and generators - Did not know this was a career.”




For many students, college is the answer but for others… A trade school or apprenticeship program works just as well if not better! Careful planning with the right information could save families and students their hard- earned dollars, help the economy, and potentially give today’s youth a jump start to their future.