The nation continues to grapple with a labor shortage in the construction industry and in trades like plumbing.
Hoping to turn the trend, a North Texas company is picking up the tab for students to learn a trade and even paying its students through a unique program dubbed ‘Mpact University.’
The ‘M’ is for Milestone, the DFW home service provider.
It’s sort of an ‘earn-as-you-learn’ trade program, preparing students to become H-VAC technicians, plumbers or electricians, free of charge and with pay.
“I get a lot of calls like: it’s free? Like, you guys pay us to come to school,” said Milestone recruiter Xavier Hite with a smile. “Absolutely.”
Traditional trade schools can cost students upward of $20,000.
Mpact University students take classes and do ride-alongs with current Milestone H-VAC techs, plumbers or electricians to gain hands-on experience.
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Those who successfully complete the nine-week programs will receive licensing and certifications associated with their trade and have a job waiting for them at Milestone.
“There is a shortage of labor right now,” said Tim Cardoso. “From building houses to plumbers, especially plumbers.”
This month, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reported there has been a labor shortage in the construction and trade industry since the ‘great recession.’
The industry is also facing an aging workforce.
The chamber challenges the trade industry to do a better job of recruiting, explaining the opportunities to become entrepreneurs.
The current challenge is recruiting people into the sector when a growing share of the population is moving toward a four-year university education, states the chamber.
“The earning potential for plumbers, electricians and H-VAC technicians is huge, so I’m not sure if a lot of people know that,” said Hite.
John Lyzenga attended college and then trade school before enrolling in MPact University.
He said he paid approximately $20,000 for trade school.
Lyzenga urges younger generations to seek out their true passion. For him, it was working with his hands.
“After paying to go to school, it was nice to be able to get paid to learn and come out with an invaluable trade,” he said.
Milestone is recruiting for its upcoming H-VAC and plumbing classes.
Prospective students must pass a background check, drug screening and have had a driver’s license for at least three years.
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