By: Joel Alexander, Ride TO Decide program graduate and is full-time member of the Atlas Butler team
For years, Atlas Butler has prioritized the professional development and training of the next generation of HVAC Technicians and Plumbers. This foundation has set Atlas Butler up to continually incorporate new best practices and prepare the next generation of the workforce. To further build upon this strategy, in Spring 2022, they introduced the Ride TO Decide program to introduce more high schoolers to career opportunities within the trades through job shadowing.
I applied for the program after participating in a ride-along with an Atlas Butler employee and was excited to be picked as one of the program’s first participants. After completing the program, I officially started full-time. The program allowed me the opportunity to see what a full-time career with the company would be like and I’m even more excited to be working full-time with Atlas Butler.
Like many high school kids with graduation looming, I wondered what I wanted to do after school. After figuring out college wasn’t the right fit for me. I started looking into the trades and the opportunities they could offer, which is why I got in touch with my neighbor, an Atlas Butler employee, to schedule a ride-along and ultimately enroll in the Ride TO Decide program.
Growing up with an Atlas Butler employee as a neighbor, I always assumed I knew what it would be like to work in the industry, but after my first day in the program, I was wrong. I underestimated the variety of experiences a career in the HVAC trade offered, and within the first two weeks, I shadowed several technicians solving different problems. Through this experience, I saw first-hand, without any sugar coating, what a technician’s day is really like.
The experience gave me a good understanding of the skills and processes I would need to know as an HVAC technician. It also helped me understand that many of the things I heard about careers in the trades are not true. The biggest one was on day one, and it was that a career in the trades is for a specific type of person. Thanks to this program, I’ve met people with all sorts of life experiences, and I call many of them friends since joining Atlas Butler full-time.
The Ride TO Decide program helped me figure out a career in the HVAC industry, specifically at Atlas Butler, is where I see myself long-term.