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Report highlights US engineer shortage

USA: A new US report highlights a shortage of commercial refrigeration technicians which is disrupting essential operations and threatening US supermarkets’ ability to move away from HFC refrigerants.

The report from the North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council (NASRC), proposes data-driven solutions to improve technician recruitment, training, and retention to grow the workforce.

“Anecdotal evidence from NASRC member contractors has long pointed to a shortage of commercial refrigeration technicians,” said Danielle Wright, executive director of NASRC. “We conducted this assessment to find concrete evidence and identify strategies to address this industry challenge.”

The US technician shortage, a common problem around the world, is said to be hampering the ability of US supermarkets to transition away from HFC refrigerants. Supermarket refrigeration is one of the leading sources of high global warming potential HFC emissions. NASRC estimates the annual climate impact from US supermarket refrigerant leaks to be 55 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.

NASRC gathered assessment information through interviews and written surveys from training, service, and human resource stakeholders. Though some national data was collected, the initial assessment primarily focused on California due to stringent regulations that have stimulated the transition from HFCs in the state.

“Our research found that the refrigeration technician workforce is caught in a negative feedback loop,” said Wright. “The shortage leads to demanding schedules, causing technicians to leave the field, further exacerbating the labour market supply issues.”

NASRC will coordinate an industry-wide implementation of the report recommendations, starting with a Natural Refrigerant Training Summit for technicians April 4-6, 2023, in Irwindale, California. Co-hosted with Southern California Edison, the event is free to attend and will feature training by leading manufacturers and experts.

Further information here.

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