Employers could lose more than $4 billion by 2016 due to shortages of skilled trade workers. There is a widening gap in the nation’s supply of skilled workers in the industrial trades.

Pipe fitters welders plumbers carpenters electricians and machinist are in short supply.

Community colleges play an important role in preparing students for careers in the industrial skilled trades but not enough people know about the high salaries and stability these jobs command.

There is a disconnect between the skills employers need and the skills potential employees have.

Employers are struggling to find enough skilled trade workers to fill positions at a time when America’s unemployment rate hovers just below 10 percent and may soar to more than 21 percent.

Community colleges are the ideal link between unemployed workers and employers seeking to hire.

They are affordable have partnerships with employers and have long-standing experience in worker training and certification programs.

Students can train for a new career quickly and training may take only a few weeks months or two years depending on the course of study chosen.

Jobs abound in the industrial trades. America garners more than 20 percent of the world’s gross domestic product with China trailing us at 12 percent according to the International Monetary fund.

Yes we have lost jobs to manufacturing facilities overseas but we are still the world’s leader in skilled trades.

Bobby Lovell of Ineos Olifins in Houston said: ”Employers are continuously looking for people with the proper knowledge and hands-on training. I would like to thank College of the Mainland for providing this essential training. As most companies in my industry are finding out there is not an abundance of qualified craftsmen available to cover the anticipated openings.”

David Lierman Ineos maintenance superintendent said: ”The four apprentices we have hired from College of the Mainland are a vital part of our succession planning strategy and the future success of our business going forward. You can make a good living doing this and the field is wide open for those who choose it.”

If you are creative and enjoy learning how things work this is a great option to explore. College of the Mainland offers a wide variety of craft-skills training in its continuing education department.

Classes start monthly with very few requirements to meet. For more information call 409-933-8586 or visit www.com.edu.

Danny Bacot is the assistant director of contract training at College of the Mainland.

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