Abacus Plumbing, Air Conditioning, and Electrical has partnered with San Jacinto College to outfit the College’s new Plumbing Technology Program at the North Campus.
After committing to support the program, Abacus sought out the support of one of their long-time valued suppliers, National Wholesale Supply, to donate tools, equipment, piping, hardware, and other plumbing materials for the students to use in their hands-on training lab.
“To build an exceptional plumbing program along the Gulf Coast requires a great amount of support from industry, and Abacus has stepped up to support this project and ensure we have the right facility to fill the workforce gaps,” said Durrell Dickens, industrial technology department chair.
Abacus is a leading provider of plumbing, air conditioning, and electrical services in the greater Houston area. Established in 2003, the company has garnered a reputation for top-notch service and the highest quality workmanship.
“Abacus is committed to helping develop the workforce of the future by forming partnerships like the one we have with San Jac,” said Tony Patiño, Abacus president. “It is important for us to help provide a pathway to the industry for future plumbers and educate students about the opportunities that exist in the trades.”
The partnership began when Dickens happened to meet Abacus business development representative Joey Scheffler at the Houston Home Show.
“This has been a great opportunity for us to partner with an established college right in our backyard,” Scheffler said. “This gives us a chance to share our experience with a younger generation and encourage them to explore the trades.”
This fall, the College rolled out seven new programs to meet the needs of the growing workforce in Houston and along the Gulf Coast. The plumbing technology program will ensure students learn how to identify the different types of water supply systems, read and sketch blueprints, understand plumbing codes, install and maintain plumbing piping and fixtures, and work with a variety of tools and equipment.
Graduates earning the plumbing technology occupational certificate will enter a field predicted to grow 22% in Texas over the next 10 years. The 16-credit hour, two-semester program prepares graduates for their licensing exam through the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners.
“There isn’t a program in the Houston area quite like this, and it is meeting a huge industrial training need,” said Dickens. “With an aging workforce, there is a shortage of tradespeople, including plumbers. We hope to meet that need without requiring students to travel elsewhere for training.”
Though the program is starting with a small cohort of students this year, it will open to dual credit students in fall 2024, and the College expects to see a boom in enrollment.
As far as the partnership between San Jac and Abacus? Patiño sees this as the start of something larger.
“Abacus started as a plumbing company, so this program is near and dear to us. But we don’t want to stop there,” he said. “We would love to partner with other programs like HVAC and electrical. This is just the first step of many.”
To learn more about the program, visit sanjac.edu/programs/areas-of-study/manufacturing/plumbing/.