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New PHCC training center aims to end skilled trade worker shortage

Joel Flotow entered the apprenticeship program with the Fort Wayne Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association four years ago and believes it’s one of the best decisions he’s ever made.

“I really enjoy it,” said Flotow. “It’s a good trade.”

Since there’s a shortage in skilled plumbers and HVAC workers both locally and nationally, Flotow believes he’s tapped into a career field with more stability than his previous job in construction.

“I mean everybody is going to need something done with plumbing, so it’s always going to be there,” said Flotow.

Hoping to attract more skilled workers like Flotow, the local PHCC just opened a new training facility at 2330 Wayne Haven St..

“If you like working with your hands, If you’re that kid that took all your toys apart, and hopefully put them back together, this is the industry to get into,” said Kyle Fisher, PHCC Instructor.

One of the best parts of the training centers is most HVAC and plumbing companies will pay for people to go through the program, which lets people like Flotow from adding student loan debt to their budget.

On top of apprentices getting their training paid for, Ray Abbott, the President of the Fort Wayne PHCC, says the potential to make a six figure salary should lure in future technicians.

“Earning potential is literally uncapped,” said Abbott. “It’s solely up to you and what you make in your career.”

Abbott will spend the next few weeks looking to fill the new classrooms with potential plumbers and HVAC techs into the center’s four year training program, which begins in September.

“It literally has some of the best job security I can think of,” said Abbott.

In the meantime, Flotow will continue to cash in on all the work that keeps coming his way.

For more information on how you can get involved with the program email the Fort Wayne PHCC at

Adam Shear

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