Helping Students Gain Real-World Experience


In August 2017, the HVAC/R program at Minneapolis Community & Technical College received substantial support toward providing hands-on training. Keep reading to learn more about this effort and how industry businesses like South-Town Refrigeration & Mechanical stepped in to help students gain real-world experience.


When MCTC was looking for equipment for student training purposes, South-Town was one of a handful of organizations to answer the call. South-Town General Manager Joe Kurke, who is on the HVAC Advisory Board for MCTC, knew just what to do.

“At one of our meetings,” he said, “the instructors said they wanted to install some supermarket-style refrigeration equipment. Because that is our main business, I told them we could help with getting the equipment, installing it, and getting it running.”

South-Town then worked with the equipment manufacturer and a local electrical company to install the supermarket refrigeration rack. They also engineered the refrigeration system to work with the equipment and cases that South-Town supplied for the project.

Each refrigeration system is equipped with multiple compressors. The number of compressors is dependent on the size of the unit and the amount of cooling – or “load” – needed to keep products chilled. From the refrigeration system, South-Town routed piping to transfer the heat from the equipment and cases back to the system and through the condenser.

“We performed a startup and programming of the system, so the students had a fully functional supermarket refrigeration system on which to train,” Kurke said.


Kurke expressed the benefit of such instruction for students seeking careers in the HVAC/R industry. Until recently, he said, most schools didn’t offer training of this caliber on refrigeration equipment.

“This system is a different design from the regular HVAC or refrigeration system,” he explained. “As such, it requires a different skill set with more intense training.”

He also noted that with the constant need for grocery stores and refrigerated warehouses, this kind of opportunity is well-suited for technicians looking to gain applicable knowledge and expand their capabilities.

“When you look back at how many businesses were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said, “the grocery industry was open and very busy. The technicians and companies experienced in this type of refrigeration were in high demand.”

And that is why South-Town jumped at the chance to collaborate with MCTC, also providing propane-cooled refrigeration cases.

“We recognize the importance of partnering with local trade schools to ensure they have the best equipment and tools to enable students to be fully trained, confident, and ready to enter the refrigeration and HVAC industry,” Kurke added.

Those in the HVAC/R program at MCTC can take advantage of this unique and practical training opportunity, thanks to industry partners like South-Town Refrigeration. For more on this project and how it is helping students gain real-world experience, visit the MCTC Trade Technologies page. Also, contact South-Town Refrigeration with questions on refrigeration and mechanical systems or to learn more about the products and services we provide.

You may also like