Skilled labor is in dire shortage nationwide

BEAUMONT, Texas – There are millions of job openings for skilled workers. But filling them all remains a problem.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people could work remotely, but that’s not working for skilled workers. Carpenters, ironworkers, mechanics and others must do their work in person. Now, these skilled labor jobs are in high demand amid a nationwide shortage.

Hunter Adams is one of approximately 8,000 qualified students at the Lamar Institute of Technology in Beaumont, Texas. He says he and about 95% of his classmates already have secure, pre-graduation jobs with artisan-hungry companies.

“They want me to go to school to learn and get an education, and then once I graduate I’ll go into mechanics full time,” Adams said.

Nationally, there are more than 600,000 apprenticeships in trades, like Adams. But as Chris Beardsall, district dean for Alamo college academic success, said, they’re “catching up” with a nationwide shortage that’s increasing their demand.

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“As the demand is so high, we bring students in for a year, learn the basic skills and realize they can find jobs immediately,” Beardsall added.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 8 million skilled jobs have been lost from the workforce during the pandemic. About half have been filled, but there are still about 4 million vacancies in the industries responsible for most transportation, construction and mechanical needs nationwide. National Association of Workforce Boards President Ron Painter said the so-called “great resignation” was fueled by the fact that many tradespeople were taking early retirement, wanting to work from home or finding less labour-intensive jobs. workforce.

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“During the pandemic, we’ve seen an unprecedented number of baby boomers exiting the workforce, exiting the workforce,” Painter told FOX Business.

Lamar Institute of Technology President Lonnie Howard said corporate donations and financial aid help reduce costs significantly for students.

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He also said that the use of robots can fill some vacancies because we will always need humans. “Someone will always need the skills to work on computers.”

Traders say that if at least three quarters of these vacancies are not filled, the result of this shortage will be that average consumers will pay more for gasoline and food.

Michael A. Bynum