One of our core missions at Mt. Ellis Academy is to help our students develop their God-given gifts. For some of our students, this means preparing them for the academic rigors of college, but that isn’t the case for all our students. With the major labor shortage around the country across all trades and the rising cost of college education, there is an increasing need to equip our young people with usable skills to enter the work force.  It is for this reason that we have taken the first step in developing our trade programs so that we can fulfill our mission to develop all our students’ God-given gifts so that they may be more prepared to charge into adulthood and serve in His Kingdom.

Mt. Ellis Academy (MEA) has launched its first cohort of HVAC training.  Today, there are less than 100 Certified Master HVAC Educators around the country, and MEA has partnered with Montana Trade School (MTS) to offer dual-learning opportunities for our students.  Program participants will work toward both their high school graduation and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certification.  Students will learn advancements in technology to enhance HVAC training, skills, and marketability to employers. Upon completion of this 2-year program, students will receive EPA certification, enabling them to enter the workforce as a level 1 technician with a starting wage of $25-$30/hour.  

The Junior and Senior level course is taught by Framo Rimoni, an RSI HVAC/R graduate with over 31 years of experience in residential, commercial, and industrial HVAC service. He is assisted by Randy Wright, a licensed general contractor with over 35 years’ experience in the industry.  The six students in this first cohort (four boys and two girls) meet 4 afternoons/week on campus as they gain practical knowledge towards their certification.  

As we look to the future, we recognize the need to continue to offer a variety of training opportunities so that our students can be prepared to enter college, or if they choose, to further their training in a trade.  Some ideas that we are looking to develop in the future include auto mechanics, welding, plumbing, coding, electrical, and construction sciences.