Pro-Tec Plumbing & Air has created a new scholarship program in partnership with Fort Myers Technical College that will help fund tuition costs for students pursuing careers in plumbing and heating, ventilation and air conditioning/refrigeration (HVAC/R).

Pro-Tec will provide four $1,000 scholarships annually. Students must be at least 21 years old and complete an essay as part of the application process.

“Our company’s leadership and staff benefited from help along the way and we wanted to ease the financial burden many individuals face when deciding to further their education,” said Pro-Tec President and Co-Owner Rick Hume, Jr. “If you go back to school, it’s difficult to work a full-time job. But if you don’t go back to school, it’s difficult to advance within your chosen field.”

According to employment data, Southwest Florida lacks skilled workers in the trades and companies throughout the region are struggling to fill job vacancies.

“We need to provide recent high school graduates and career-changers with job-specific skills so they can step right into a position and earn a good wage to support their families,” said Pro-Tec Vice President and Co-Owner Brandon Hume. “Our new partnership with Fort Myers Technical College will help students overcome one of the biggest challenges they face in continuing their education beyond high school and that is paying for tuition and fees.”

In addition to the scholarship program, Pro-Tec established the Pro-Tec School of Apprenticeship to train and develop plumbers and HVAC technicians. The Naples-based company recently opened a location in Fort Myers and has expanded its service area to include Fort Myers, Cape Coral and Lehigh Acres.

Fort Myers Technical College offers more than 20 career programs in a variety of occupational clusters. Its mission is providing high-quality career and technical training to prepare students for current and emerging industries.

The institution’s plumbing track is a 10-month program and covers tools of the trade, drainage systems, residential and commercial repairs, irrigation systems, blueprint reading and more. The HVAC/R track is a 12-month program that covers the fundamentals and science of air conditioning, A/C and refrigeration systems, heat pumps, system design and industry practices. Both programs prepare graduates to immediately step into entry-level roles and progress within their respective fields.

“Both the plumbing and HVAC/R programs are serving industries that are in need of technically trained employees,” said John Roszell, director of Fort Myers Technical College. “The hands-on approach that FMTC takes in all of our programs is exactly what employers are looking for. By completing our programs and earning industry certifications or licenses, graduates of FMTC are more marketable, have the potential to earn a higher entrance wage and will be instrumental in maintaining the workforce of the future.”

About Pro-Tec Plumbing & Air

Founded in 2008 and co-owned by brothers Rick Hume, Jr. and Brandon Hume, Pro-Tec Plumbing & Air is a premier plumbing and HVAC company serving residential and commercial customers in Collier and Lee counties. Pro-Tec’s plumbing division installs and repairs toilets, plumbing fixtures, water heaters, garbage disposals and water filtration systems. Additional plumbing services include leak detection, repiping, drain cleaning and sewer inspections. Pro-Tec’s HVAC division offers diagnostics and system repairs, as well as complete installations of condensers, air handling units, thermostats and ductwork. The Naples-based company is fully licensed and insured, and measures its success through five core values: teamwork, loyalty, reputation, high expectations and family. Pro-Tec maintains an A+ rating through the Better Business Bureau and has a near-perfect 4.9 Google rating. For more information, please visit PTPflorida.com or call 239-261-1000.