Trades jobs

Even amid economic uncertainty, there are still jobs available, especially those for skilled workers, like electricians, plumbers and mechanics.

Martin Aguirre, with Workforce Solutions South Plains, says continuing construction on new subdivisions and hotels is one cause for the steady demand in Lubbock.

"We still have commercial building going on. So, when that's happening, when you need the workers that do that kind of work, you need the plumbers and the pipe-fitters and the electricians and the carpenters," Aguirre said.

In 2019, Industrial Safety & Hygiene News reported that retiring baby boomers in the skilled trades were outpacing new employees by a rate of 5 to 1.

That means there were nearly half a million more jobs than there were workers available to fill them.

"I read where like in the plumbers and pipe-fitters, especially, they were going to lose like 60 percent of the workers that they had trained. And so they need to be continuously refreshing the pool," Aguirre said.

Rob Blair, Dean of Technical Education at South Plains College, says phones have been ringing off the hook with employers needing people to fill positions.

Enrollment in their programs has remained steady.

He says the classes focus on hands-on, real-world experience and offer industry certifications alongside educational credits.

"When they do graduate with a certificate or a degree, and then they have that industry certification. They have built their resume, makes them more employable," Blair said.

He says nearly all of the technical education programs maintain a 90 percent graduate-placement rate.

The college is working with high schools to recruit students and give them a head start.

"They earn college credit during high school, and we do that through articulated credit and we also do that through CTE dual-credit," Blair said.

Workforce Solutions South Plains works with the college and high schools to get students from the classroom into the field.