8-5-2019 Program aims where jobs are

Posted on: August 5th, 2019 by admin


August 5, 2019


By Garrett Stell


Aug 02, 2019 12:00 AM


Anyone who completes a basic level of plumbing training stands a good chance of getting a job right away, industry officials say, and federal statistics project faster-than-average growth in those jobs.


Which is why Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute announced Thursday that plumbing courses will be available in the evening, beginning Aug. 19 with Introduction to Plumbing. Intermediate Plumbing will begin in the spring, and Advanced Plumbing will be added as a summer course in 2020.


The program will be run through the college’s Continuing Education Department. This means students can sign up to take each course by

itself without enrolling in any other CCC&TI classes. It will cost $181 per semester.


Brandy Dunlap, CCC&TI’s Dean of Continuing Education and Workforce Development, said that offering the classes at night provides an opportunity for a variety of students.


“Some people who are already working in the industry simply want to increase their knowledge,” she said. “But others want to switch and start a brand new career. This course lets students keep their day jobs.”


Dunlap even said that students who complete the introductory course will have a good chance to find work right away. Then they can return and take the next level of training while employed.


“Lots of times, the employer will pay for them to continue their training,” she said.


Information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics published in April show that the employment of plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters by 2026 is expected to have grown by 16 percent from 2016 — over twice the average growth rate.


The median annual salary in these professions in 2018 was $53,910, about $15,00 above the overall national average across.


Median salary statistics include veteran plumbers who earn higher wages or may operate their own licensed company, but Dunlap said that beginning wages for just a plumber’s assistant average $13 to $15 per hour.


Jennifer Ellis, executive officer at the Caldwell County Home Builders Association, said that educational opportunities like CCC&TI’s plumbing program are critical to revitalizing industries that are in need of workers.


“There is a misconception that you have to go to a four-year school in order to ever have hope for a high-paying job,” she said. “But we need to expose children starting at a young age that there are other opportunities for them to have good careers.”


She said that many experienced laborers are beginning to retire, and companies need young workers to take their place. Knowledge and hands-on experience are critical for someone hoping to stand out in the applicant pool.


“I could hire 10 plumber’s helpers with no training today,” she said. “But what we really need are plumbers — motivated young people who know what they’re doing.”


Reporter Garrett Stell can be reached at 828-610-8723.

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