Supporting the Trade: Mercy Vocational HS Comes to Visit

On Thursday, Feb. 18, Rich-Tomkins Company was proud to host a very talented group of students from Mercy Vocational High School to its training facility for Bradford White residential water heater training.

The group of 13 students and one instructor received a hands-on training from Herbert “Harvey” Harvey of Harvey’s Heating and Air Conditioning. Harvey brings over 25 years of experience in the field and is a certified Bradford White trainer. The students learned about different Bradford White products, what types of issues they may need to troubleshoot in the field and were able to ask as many question as they could come up with.

Anyone within the trade has seen and heard about the potential plumber and skilled labor shortage that will be facing our country in the future. Mercy Vocational HS is working to fill the 5.3% expected job growth in facility maintenance (by 2020) through their building trades and technical education program.

We wanted to learn more about the program at Mercy, so we did a quick Q&A with Catherine Glatts, vice principal for technology and career & technical education:

RT:  How big are class sizes? What is the graduation class size like (how many from the building trades program?)
CG: The CTE classes average size is 18.  So, the past couple of years there have been 17 to 20 graduates from the building trades. This year’s class is not as big. This year there are only 12 graduating from building trades.

RT:  It is a four-year program? I noticed online it says the first 3 years and an option for a co-op in the senior year.
CG: Student do not begin their CTE program until sophomore year. So, it is a three-year program. If the student has his/her certifications by the start of senior year then the student can participate in the Co-operative Education Program. Students will work in the afternoons. The student typically works about 20 hours a week in his/her CTE area. The goal is to use the skill learned in the CTE program and be mentored.

RT: Can you tell me about some of the course or classes? What does a high school career look like at Mercy, specifically in the building program?
CG: A Mercy student studies the basic courses required to earn a diploma from the PA Department of Education:  four years of English, math, theology (since Mercy is a catholic school) three years of history and science, one year health and PE. 20160218_092522 20160218_082657

20160218_092452During sophomore year, a student will spend about two hours a day in his/her CTE Program. During junior and senior year the student will spend about three hours in shop. So, a senior will take four academic subjects in the morning and his/her CTE program in the afternoon. This is how a student is able to participate in Co-op.

While in the CTE program the student spends time learning theory and hands-on work. Many of our programs will also connect with the community to provide services. This year our Building Trades students worked with Habitat for Humanity to build the Pope Francis Homes at Hope Village. This is a powerful way to learn and give back!

RT:   What is the percentage of students who graduate and go right into jobs?
CG: Graduate outcomes:  33% continue their educations (two-year, four year or technical school), 33% go to work, 33% will go to school part time and work part time. 1% military.


Bradford White and Rich-Tomkins Company know that building the trade from the ground up works; Philadelphia company Campus Apartments, a Bradford White customer, currently employees six Mercy graduates in roles from facility manager, maintenance technician to leasing specialist.

For more information on Mercy, visit their website. For more information on how Bradford White supports the trade, check out this recent article.

If you are interested in attending a Bradford White training class, be sure to join our training class mailing list!