Waubonsee’s new Technical Education Center regional driver of economic growth in sustainability and cleantech careers

Waubonsee Community College is building a state-of-the-art, 100,000-square-foot Technical Education Center at its Sugar Grove campus.

This cutting-edge facility, set to open its doors in the fall of 2025, will serve as the hub for several of Waubonsee’s career and technical education programs and a driving force for economic growth in sustainability and cleantech careers.

The TEC will include specialized labs and training spaces for electric vehicle systems, diagnostic practices, and new equipment that meet efficiency standards. These upgrades will increase enrollment capacities; provide room for program growth in diesel technology, electric vehicles, welding fabrication, and robotic welding; and support Illinois’ statewide clean energy goals and new green legislation. In addition, the TEC will prepare students to work safely on sustainable initiatives beyond what many original equipment manufacturers provide in their facilities.

Waubonsee’s automotive technology and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) programs are expanding training and career opportunities for students in efficiency and sustainability in various ways.

As the demand for trained technicians in the HVAC industry has increased and the Environmental Protection Agency phases out legacy refrigerants, Waubonsee is adding additional training programs and updated labs to meet the needs of the industry.

The HVAC program has added additional electrical troubleshooting classes to the program as well as replacing ozone-depleting refringent in its labs. Equipment also is being replaced to mirror the changes happening in the field due to the new energy efficiency standards of SEER2, as well as the new refrigerants of today that have a lower global warming potential.

Through all of this, the college is preparing students to understand and meet the new Department of Energy and EPA requirements. Joseph Kloke, an assistant professor of HVAC, believes continuous training is essential for the job.

Waubonsee’s comprehensive training includes not only the basics of refrigeration cycle, gas-fired appliances, and electrical systems but also a thorough understanding of the control systems installed on today’s communicating systems, making up about 50% of the systems installed today. Waubonsee’s HVAC courses also teach students how to work on commercial systems and how to work with Building Automation Systems.

The production of energy-efficient vehicles also is increasing rapidly, and Illinois has set a goal of having 1 million electric vehicles on its roads by 2030. As more energy-efficient cars are produced, the need for skilled technicians in hybrid and battery-electric vehicles also will remain high. Waubonsee’s automotive technology program equips students with the knowledge, training, and certification needed to meet this need across the region and Illinois.

It is estimated only 3% of technicians possess the knowledge to work on EVs, according to the Center for Performance Improvement.

Guy Tiberio, Waubonsee’s associate professor of automotive technology, added knowledge of hybrid and EVs sets Waubonsee students apart when applying for employment. He emphasized knowledge of hybrid and EVs is becoming essential for all repair facilities as most older-generation batteries are now out of warranty and are showing up in independent repair shops.

Waubonsee’s instructor of automotive technology Tyler Friedland said the TEC will allow the college to dive deeper into the sustainability and battery technology used in EVs. Waubonsee continues to update its fleet of hybrid/EVs and features different trainers and automotive manufacturers in class to teach students how to safely and accurately diagnose and repair EVs’ high-voltage systems.

Join Waubonsee for the ceremonial groundbreaking of the TEC building and to learn more about its programs. RSVP by visiting

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