Grants Allow for Specialized Industry Training


With new and advancing technology, it’s important for companies to keep employees up to date with information and processes. And recent funding has provided a helping hand. As grants allow for specialized industry training, local businesses like SCR develop competitive strategies.


St. Cloud State University recently earned $550,000 in training grants from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. These grants were awarded in partnership with Grede Casting and SCR to subsidize specialized workforce training and equipment specific to each company’s needs.

Grede and SCR will work with local vocational colleges to develop and implement customized programs for current and incoming employees. Such practical training opportunities will help these companies remain competitive and improve workforce skills to adapt as industry requirements evolve.

With funding in place, the partnering businesses may expect novice employees to develop practical skills and experience to help further their careers and benefit the company. What’s more, these companies can anticipate a more robust workforce supported by industry-specific proficiencies.

In turn, the training schools — SCSU, St. Cloud Technical & Community College, Ridgewater College, and Hennepin Technical College — will establish programming and instruction for other businesses as well.


Grant funding is provided under the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership (MJSP) Program, which offers training for present and future personnel. The program pairs participating businesses with accredited schools to build a foundation for enhanced instruction particular to the needs of the business or its customers.

Projects last from one to three years, with grants awarded up to $400,000. Each project requires at least one academic institution coupled with one business. Allocated funds may be used for training or to improve instructional resources of businesses currently in Minnesota or looking to relocate there.


SCR continues to advance and evolve to meet the ever-changing needs of its clients. As these grants allow for specialized industry training, SCR will use this opportunity to further its comprehensive approach to customer service and satisfaction. Embracing growth and new technology training will help this family-owned and operated business maintain its standing as the Midwest leader in commercial refrigeration, HVAC/R, building automation, and food service design, installation, and maintenance. To learn more about SCR, its capabilities, or its grant-funded training agenda, contact us or visit our website.


SCR Recognized for Efficiency


SCR is always on the cutting edge of technology that provides energy savings and performance for its customers. With some of its latest projects, the company was recognized for efficiency with an award from Xcel Energy®. Mechanical Designer Joe Lyon recently offered insight into a few of those projects and how SCR pulls out the stops to offer the best equipment, systems, and savings to its clients.


Each year, Xcel Energy presents its Energy Efficiency Partner Award to trade partners who took advantage of Minnesota’s energy savings programs and passed the knowledge and savings onto their customers.

SCR was one of five winners of the Business Energy Efficiency Programs award for 2021, for promoting higher-efficiency equipment. But this isn’t the company’s first go round with such an honor.

“I believe this is the second time we’ve gotten this award,” Lyon said. “Xcel bases the winners on who did the most rebates in the state.” All the winners combined initiated more than $8.8 million in rebates, saving more than 68,695 dekatherms of natural gas and 70,315,946 kilowatt-hours of electricity.


Though SCR works on many different projects, the company was recognized by Xcel for efficiency efforts in a specific area. “Most of the award primarily comes from the HVAC side, from the air conditioners we installed,” Lyon explained.

And while SCR remains confident in the equipment it provides, its sales team leaves the final decision up to the customer.

“Our biggest philosophy is to give our customers all the information and let them make the best decision for their circumstances,” Lyon said. “That’s how I want to be treated, so we extend that same courtesy to our clients.”

With that, Lyon said, there is a lot of competition to get or keep bid numbers low and be awarded a project.

“When we do a quote, we list a standard-efficiency unit as the base. But we always list high efficiency as an option, and then we put that Xcel rebate down so the customer can see it,” he added. “Then they realize they can get more efficient equipment for a little more money and the rebate will offset the difference in price or come close to it. That makes it a no-brainer for most people.”


SCR’s most recent accolades from Xcel are the result of a slew of projects the company did over the course of 2020. Lyon recalled a few of them while briefly touching on SCR’s HVAC capabilities:

  • Replaced older units and added high-efficiency air conditioners for the Toppan Merrill building expansion in Sartell.
  • Added high-efficiency units to the Cathedral High School expansion in St. Cloud, keeping the customer on budget with the help of Xcel’s rebates.
  • High-efficiency rooftop replacements for Wiman Corporation in Sauk Rapids.
  • Installed high-efficiency air conditioners in the shop area at Peter’s Body Shop in St. Cloud.
  • Completed a remodel to Pangea World Market, which turned a former shoe store into a grocery mart and included high-efficiency units designed into the plans.

This is only a handful of the projects during which SCR extended rebate savings – and energy savings – to its customers. “Again, we showed them the standard and offered a rebate for the high efficiency, and it just made things really simple,” Lyon added.

And for the customer, saving money is key. “A lot of customers are looking at the payback and shoot for that three-to five-year range,” Lyon said. “The rebate helps to counterbalance that time period for their payback, and it really makes a difference.”


The rebate offer from Xcel helps SCR’s overall sales volume, but the company’s main concern is looking out for its clients.

“We have a lot of repeat customers,” Lyon said, “and we want to show them that we’re taking the extra step. So many people say, ‘This is what you need, and here’s your price.’ But we make recommendations and give our customers every option, so they have the knowledge to make the best choice for them.”

Being recognized for efficiency is just one of the many feathers in SCR’s proverbial cap. With its customer focus and commitment to quality, SCR is the Midwest’s leader for commercial refrigeration, HVAC, food service design, and more. Contact SCR today to learn how to increase efficiency and innovation in your next project.


Consider a Career in the Skilled Trades


Many young people are asked early on what they want to do after high school. A lot of them will go on to a state college or university. Some will take time off, and others are yet undecided. If you or someone you know wants to explore a promising path, consider a career in the skilled trades. We’ll tell you more about the benefits of finding your future in HVAC/R.


The fact remains that a four-year college experience isn’t everyone’s post-high school dream. And it’s okay, because there are plenty of options for building a knowledge base and putting those skills to rewarding use.

Learning skilled trades through specialized programs is both affordable and practical. On average, the cost for a trade school degree is a little more than one-quarter of that for a Bachelor’s degree.

Additionally, the salary comparison is reasonably balanced. One study projected trade school graduates might earn about $90,000 less than four-year college graduates over a 30-year span. However, students who pursue a trade school education will finish sooner and enter the workforce about two years earlier, which amounts to trade school graduates earning two additional years of income.

Through apprenticeships, trade school students often receive hands-on training while studying in their chosen field. And these fast-paced, constantly evolving environments provide plenty of opportunity for experience and growth.


Right now, the market for careers in skilled trades is booming, thanks to retiring baby boomers.

Each day over the next several years, an estimated 10,000 baby boomers are expected to turn 65, the age of retirement. By 2029, approximately 20 percent of the U.S. population will have already retired or be ready to do so.

As more and more people age out of the workforce, fewer workers are available to fill those positions because they require specific skills. Trade schools can provide the necessary education and skillsets.

Right now, about 80 percent of construction companies in the U.S. are unable to find workers qualified to complete their projects, especially when it comes to HVAC. And the need for HVAC technicians continues to rise. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 15 percent increase in the demand for HVAC employment through 2026.

With such a hot market, the time has never been better to consider this cool, in-demand career.


Family owned and operated for more than 60 years, SCR is the Midwest Premier mechanical and refrigeration contractor. Our supportive work culture and rewarding atmosphere encourages personal and professional growth.

What’s more, SCR provides for prospective employees all the advantages one can expect and more, including:

  • Competitive salary
  • Benefits such as medical, dental, and 401K
  • Flexible scheduling
  • Career and educational advancement opportunities

And those looking for scholarship opportunities can find them right here with SCR. We currently have assistance programs available to those choosing to pursue a career in the skilled trades. Contact us to learn more.


SCR’s Impressive HVAC Project


HVAC installation is often a reasonably straightforward endeavor. But sometimes, a larger and more challenging venture presents itself. Such is the case for the crew at SCR, who started a massive job in Litchfield more than a year ago. With everything on track to wrap up soon, learn more about SCR’s impressive HVAC project and how it differs from so many others.


“A typical HVAC project involves installing the equipment and ductwork that moves air throughout a facility,” Project Manager Josh Hagen said. However, this task was anything but typical.

In the fall of 2019, the First District Association (FDA) dairy processing plant in Litchfield began construction to expand its facility and output. The building additions would allow FDA to increase its daily intake capacity from around 5 million pounds of milk to 7.5 million pounds.

“We did a cheese plant addition, a lactose dryer addition, and a milk receiving addition,” Hagen noted. “So, there were really three separate projects going simultaneously.”

Each expansion was a new building that required a new system. None of the existing HVAC was integrated, so everything started from square one.


This FDA project operates on a bigger scale than most HVAC installations. Naturally, the larger details require more time and effort for execution. And when everything is custom fitted along the way, the amount of work invested becomes obvious.

“Just about all the ductwork is welded stainless steel, which is more time consuming and difficult than typical, bolted-together ductwork,” Hagen explained.

All the pieces used for this project were cut out in SCR’s sheet metal fabrication shop and welded together. “We had one connection piece that measured 144 inches by 96 inches. So, imagine trying to get that up and into place and welded on,” he added.


The complexity and size of these systems made the work demanding at times. One constant challenge on a project of this magnitude, Hagen admitted, was coordinating logistics with the other trades.

This was especially true at the cheese plant, with a maze and miles of piping going in every direction. “We needed to try to make everything fit together while not getting in each other’s way,” Hagen said.

Because the crew needed to get immense and bulky equipment about 250 feet into the building, SCR brought in some memorable machinery to do the heavy lifting.

“We were using Landwehr’s monster 400-ton crane with a 100-foot jib on it to set equipment,” Hagen explained. “You could see this thing from 10 miles away.”

But seeing this project come together is the very definition of satisfying.

“You can look at all the photos you want,” Hagen said, “but the pictures don’t do justice to the scope of this project. To think about what our guys were able to accomplish in getting some of the equipment and ductwork where it’s at is kind of amazing.”


SCR takes comprehensive heating, ventilation, and air conditioning services seriously as well as to the next level. This impressive HVAC project will help FDA increase its capabilities and make a statement, just in time to celebrate its 100th anniversary this summer. Learn more about SCR’s HVAC, refrigeration, building automation, food service, and maintenance specialties and how they can work for you. Contact us today.


Follow Your Path to an HVAC Career


Working in HVAC is a fulfilling job. Sure, it has its hot and cold moments, depending on the task. But providing complete and reliable heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and (sometimes) refrigeration service to residential and commercial clients is its own reward. Learn more about this profession and how SCR can help you to find and follow your path to an HVAC career.


HVAC service technicians install, maintain, repair, and replace the climate control systems that keep us comfortable. Ensuring the effective and efficient operation of heating, ventilation, and cooling systems is important for client satisfaction and safety.

On a given day, an HVAC technician may need to perform duties that include:

  • Troubleshooting electrical and mechanical issues
  • Checking for leaks
  • Cleaning, adjusting, or repairing systems and equipment
  • Testing and regulating controls
  • Assembling and installing HVAC equipment
  • Interpreting blueprints

One of the best things about working in HVAC is that every day offers new challenges in a variety of environments with more opportunities to learn and grow.


SCR is the industry leader for commercial and residential HVAC service across the state. We employ and train our technicians to understand all aspects of HVAC. That way, they’re able to assess and understand any issues while adapting to this continually changing industry.

Once you decide that an HVAC career is right for you, make sure to secure a solid education foundation. This path most often requires attaining a high school diploma or GED equivalent before continuing on to earn certification. Additional courses for specialized skills can add to your resume and knowledge base and serve as stepping-stones toward a long and successful HVAC career.

You’ll climb the HVAC career ladder by starting as a laborer or apprentice, where you’ll get hands-on training to hone your skills. As you work your way up to installer or service tech and beyond, you’ll gain more knowledge and become more adept in your trade.

With each rung, you’ll experience more success and job satisfaction, along with increased compensation and pride in your work.


Service technicians are the driving force behind SCR. Currently, HVAC service and installation techs are a highly sought-after crowd, and that demand is only expected to increase over the next several years.

In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates a steady increase in HVAC tech employment through 2029.

For more than 60 years, the family-owned SCR has provided quality service to residential and commercial customers throughout Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. We have all the tools you need to discover and follow your path to an HVAC career. When you’re ready to get started, we’re here to help. Contact us today or visit our website to find current job openings.

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