East Texas contractor shares impact of National Apprenticeship Week

Finding tomorrow’s skilled workers is one of the goal’s of the eighth annual National Apprenticeship Week.
Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 6:53 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Across the country, there is a shortage of professionals who work in skilled trades, especially electricians. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts nearly 80,000 new electricians will be needed each year for the next 10 years. Finding tomorrow’s skilled workers is one of the goal’s of the eighth annual National Apprenticeship Week.

“You do not have to go through an apprenticeship program to become a journeyman electrician, but it sure does help,” Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) Vice President and Chambers Electrical Contractor Dennis Chambers said.

Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job training with classroom instruction to prepare workers for highly skilled careers like becoming an electrician or plumber.

“There are things in the code book that you will never understand until you’ve done it with your hands,” Chambers said. “And, there are things that until you see it, it’s like you’re speaking a different language, and then it clicks, and then it comes together.”

IEC’s 4-year program is a partnership with the Department of Labor for hands-on experience and classroom training. Although Chambers said they hire despite the program, “The more you can do, the more valuable you are to me. So, the more that you understand, the more that you learn, the more that you are capable of, just the more value you possess.”

Chambers said skilled-base careers are vital. “If you walk into your house, and you want the lights to come on, you better thank an electrician, and so we need them. And, it’s not just us. It’s plumbers. I mean, there’s so many trades that are out there, and the apprenticeship programs are very important to feeding those people who become the electricians, the plumbers of tomorrow.”

This week, the Texas Workforce Commission encourages employers to discover how apprenticeship programs meet the ongoing need for a skilled workforce.

“Working with your hands and having just an honest trade, and I think that is something that should be praised and should be noted.”