Skilled Trades Academy to help fill worker shortage in construction
June 2019 Hoover Sun Jon Anderson
The Hoover school system’s new Skilled Trades Academy at the Riverchase Career Connection Center is a step forward in helping meet demand for new construction industry workers, Bill Caton, chief operating officer for the Alabama Associated General Contractors, said.
Every year, there are on average 335 carpentry job openings in the eight Southeasternmost states, according to the national Associated General Contractors.
There also are on average 310 job openings for electricians, 160 job openings in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), 155 job openings for equipment operators and 145 job openings in welding, according to data the association pulled from the U.S. Department of Labor.
Many people in the construction trades are reaching retirement age, and “we’re losing ‘em faster than we’re getting ‘em,” Caton said.
There’s a big need to fill those jobs, and Hoover’s new Skilled Trades Academy is a unique program that will help prepare students to make a positive impact, Caton said.
About 125 students from Hoover and Spain Park high schools and about half a dozen from Homewood High School signed up for the first year of the Skilled Trades Academy, which begins Aug. 8, said Brian Copes, the lead teacher for the academy.
The first year, students will take a course that introduces them to carpentry, electrical work, welding and HVAC, Copes said.
The introductory course will teach the basics of each trade, as well as focus on safety and tool usage.