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Mon, Jun 19, 2017

One-of-a-Kind Partnership to Keep Riders Cool

PHOENIX, AZ – Valley Metro Rail and The Refrigeration School, Inc. (RSI) have successfully completed a first-of-its-kind customized training program specifically designed around the niche HVAC equipment utilized on Valley Metro light rail vehicles.

“As one of the few light rail systems operating regularly in 100-plus degree heat, Valley Metro Rail requires a workforce with specialized knowledge and skills,” said Ken Raghunandan, Valley Metro Rail Light Rail Vehicle Maintenance Superintendent. “RSI’s custom training program enables current and future Valley Metro Rail maintenance technicians to develop their career and technical knowledge, proving that transit not only connects riders to their jobs, it also creates and sustains careers.”

Raghunandan contacted RSI, which happens to be located along Valley Metro Rail, to develop The Valley Metro Rail Refrigeration Training Program. This marks the first time RSI has developed a custom program specifically designed around the unique needs of an individual employer.

“With today’s HVAC systems more sophisticated than ever, the industry requires a workforce with specialized knowledge and skills for installations, maintenance and repairs,” said Brandon Milligan, President of The Refrigeration School. “Our goal at RSI has always been to provide hands-on education with a strong emphasis on the highly sought after electrical, diagnostic and mechanical technology skills that employers seek. We are proud to take this same approach into the field with Valley Metro, and offer continued career training that meets their specific needs.”

Seven maintenance technicians earned their HVAC certification by completing the five-week, 100 hour hands-on training course.  The classes were scheduled around their regular work shifts and conducted at the Valley Metro Rail Operations & Maintenance Center.

“I wanted to take this course to gain more specialized skills and expand my job knowledge,” said Michael Dechant, Valley Metro Rail Maintenance Technician. “Each of our HVAC units is large enough to cool three average-sized homes in Arizona. We’ve learned specific ways to diagnose and repair issues in order to create a cool ride for passengers.”

About Valley Metro: Valley Metro provides eco-friendly public transit options to residents of greater Phoenix and Maricopa County including the planning and operations of a regional bus system and the development and operations of 26 miles of light rail. In Fiscal Year 2016, total ridership for the system was 67 million passengers. Seven high capacity extensions are planned or are under construction that will create a 66-mile system by 2034. Valley Metro also offers transit options including alternative transportation programs for seniors and people with disabilities, commuter vanpools, online carpool matching, bus trip mapping, bicycle safety and telework assistance. Two Boards of Directors set the policy direction for the agency with the intent of advancing the regional public transit system. Get the latest news by following us on Facebook and Twitter or visiting

About The Refrigeration School, Inc. : The Refrigeration School, Inc. (RSI) was founded in Phoenix in 1965 and has been training students for sustainable HVAC careers for more than 50 years. Offering hands-on education with a strong emphasis on the highly sought after electrical skills, diagnostic and mechanical technology proficiency employers seek, RSI’s programs include Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating Technologies, Electro-Mechanical Technologies (HVAC-R), Mechanical Maintenance Engineering, and an online solar certification training. RSI is an ACCSC accredited school and licensed by the Arizona State Board for Private Post-Secondary Education. For more information, including graduation rates and the median debt of students who complete RSI programs, visit or follow along on Facebook and Twitter

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