I offer my condolences to those who have lost loved ones to COVID-19 and prayers for those battling this disease.
As we look towards a brighter future, we must also consider employment, including for those displaced by the coronavirus.
On March 16, Wilco issued the order restricting gatherings to no more than 50 people to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Four days before, I offered the keynote speech at TDIndustries’ registered apprenticeship kickoff in Round Rock.
TDIndustries provides a 20-week training program for HVAC and plumbing employees as their first step of apprenticeship. Participants learn the basics of their trade in the first course and receive advanced training in subsequent semesters.
Apprenticeships are geared for occupations, not just skills. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 94% of apprentices who complete an apprenticeship retain employment, with an average annual salary of $70,000.
The Department of Labor can provide guidance and certification for apprenticeships, but programs differ among states and regions. Certified apprenticeships can then become registered, but there are other programs not certified.
Workers over age 45 comprise 53% of skilled trades occupations in this country alone, yet many will be retiring in the next 15 years.
Industries—including every kind of restaurant—are worried. If technical schools could produce twice the current rate of graduates, the demand for skilled workers still would not be satisfied.