ESI turns to CWI To Level-Up Refrigeration Workers in Strategic Partnership

Published: June 26, 2024

Engineered Structures, Inc. (ESI), a large construction company based in Meridian, has partnered with College of Western Idaho (CWI) to provide a Commercial Refrigeration Bootcamp for their employees.

The Commercial Refrigeration Bootcamp took place from March 4 – June 28 and included a combination of online learning and a 2-week in-person brazing and refrigeration case installation lab at CWI’s Canyon County Center (CYNC).

ESI constructs and builds out larger grocery stores across the country — including Boise-headquartered Winco Foods — and is building an in-house division to handle refrigeration installation.

To meet this ambitious initiative, the company needs to train employees — workers who are already qualified construction technicians — into commercial refrigeration technician positions, but lacks the in-house facility, teachers, and curriculum. To achieve their goal, ESI turned to CWI.

“We are focusing on building good work habits and producing technicians that can be productive on day one at the job site,” said CWI’s Commercial Refrigeration instructor, Carlos Lamas, when asked about the purpose of the training.

8 ESI employees started the Bootcamp in March via an online BlackBoard course that includes:

  • Brazing and Workplace Safety
  • Effective Communications and Customer Service
  • Refrigerant Line Brazing Tools
  • Refrigeration Case Support and Drainage Systems
  • Brazing Basics
  • EPA 608 Exam Prep and Certification

The EPA 608 Certification is a valuable industry certification that demonstrates an HVAC Technician has the skills and knowledge to safely handle refrigerants. The certification also ensures those working with refrigerants comply with environmental laws that protect the atmosphere from harmful emissions.

“The students are learning to work safely around other people and on different job sites with brazing torches in what can be considered a hazardous working environment,” said Jerry Stafford, CWI’s HVAC Program Coordinator.

ESI’s employees were sent by the company from job sites around the region to CWI’s HVAC Lab at the Canyon County Center for a two-week brazing and refrigeration case installation lab. They were able to learn foundational skills in an intensive hands-on environment which will be utilized almost immediately.

Two of the ESI employees are father and son. “This is one of the better if not best trainings I’ve been to. The instructors are easy to talk to and easy to understand. It’s giving me a steppingstone for the future,” said Chuck Evans.

CJ Evans, Chuck’s son, said, “Working with the refrigeration case hands-on was the best part of the training, especially when you have teachers that have been in the field and can share their experience with you. They never talked down to us but were eager to pass on what they know so we can be successful in our jobs.”

ESI leadership have been engaged from day-one, actively promoting the CWI partnership and donating a used refrigeration case and two scissor lifts, as both organizations collaborate to level-up workers in this key business growth area.

From software to high-tech certifications, companies are partnering with CWI to train employees and achieve their goals. Visit our Workforce Development & Training page to learn more.

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