North Texas has a severe construction labor shortage and new programs at the Dallas Independent School District may help.
The Dallas Builders Association estimates as many as 25,000 construction workers could be put to work. The association estimate the absence of those workers adds an average of $6,000 to the cost of each new home and delays completion by two months.
The first two of four Dallas ISD ‘Career Institutes’ will open next year, drawing students for specialized workforce training, some of which is offered now in high schools.
Around 800 students are currently enrolled in ‘Principals of Construction’ courses at 12 Dallas High Schools including Skyline in East Dallas, where Doug Palmer is an instructor.
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“I’m more concerned with them being able to get an entry level job into the construction field and keeping that job,” Palmer said.
Skyline Junior Diego Reyes helps Palmer teach woodworking skills to the younger students.
“It’s like a Skill saw, it’s my best friend now. It’s like second nature to use a Skill saw. But first, I was scared of it,” Reyes said “If you don’t respect the tool and play around, something could go wrong.”
The Career Institutes will offer higher level training so that Dallas high school graduates will be ready to immediately step into good paying jobs in construction trades.
“They will have the opportunity to do plumbing, heating and air, electrical, and carpentry,” Palmer said.
North Texas community colleges already offer job training in construction trades.
Homebuilder Alan Hoffman, a former President of the Dallas Homebuilders Association, said the expansion of construction training at the high school level by Dallas ISD is a welcome addition.
“We’re very excited about that and we’re working with them as much as we can,” Hoffman said. “These kids have an option to have a really good paying job and an opportunity for a future that they may not have been aware of.”
Hoffman said a trained plumber or electrician can earn $60,000 to $80,000 right out of high school without college.
“It’s also something where they can work and eventually have their own business and run several crews themselves and build a significant business,” Hoffman said.
Several students in the Skyline High School class are already looking ahead to construction careers and considering college level construction management courses after the high school training.
“I want to do managing construction, once I graduate from High School,” said sophomore Yahir Valadez. “So I want to keep learning the skills and then start something on my own.”
Diego Reyes said he hopes to become a general contractor someday.
“I feel like with knowledge, you can do anything,” Reyes said.
Here is a link to the Dallas ISD Career Institute information. Aviation and Interior Design courses will also be included in the Career Institutes.
Here is Construction Job Training information for North Lake College.
Here is information from the Dallas Builders Association about Collin College Construction training scholarships.