MNTC's Carpentry Class Filling a National Gap of Skilled Workers
MNTC carpentry students Kyle Brimson, Norman High School junior, David Flies and Moore High School senior Michael Pritz work on siding for the custom home they are building to sell to the public by summer 2015.
(NORMAN, Okla.) Oct. 27, 2014 – There is a growing gap in the United States between the industry demand for trained carpentry and construction workers and the number of qualified and available workers.
Moore Norman Technology Center, along with all technology centers in Oklahoma's CareerTech System, work every school day to lessen that gap and get qualified women and men to work in the construction industry.
Last year Forbes reported national figures that show "in 2012, 53 percent of skilled-trade workers in the U.S. were 45 years and older...and 18.6 percent were between 55 and 64." With the outlook having many Baby Boomers retiring and moving closer to retirement age each day, most states are feeling the reality of this national skills gap.
MNTC carpentry instructor Mark Estell said, "I get more calls than I have students to fill positions in the construction industry every week. Carpentry and construction employees stand to make really great wages in Oklahoma, but I can't put them out fast enough. It's the same with other construction trades instructors in CareerTech; there are more jobs than we can put out highly trained and qualified graduates."
Construction Labor Contractors, a national HR management and solutions group for construction labor and contractors nationwide, notes that the decline in available skilled labor can actually become a great opportunity for trained and certified workers. Because the technical requirements for many jobs in the construction trades, those who've taken or completed training at a technical school or technical college have the greatest chances for success and growth in the industry.
In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics lists those working in the carpentry industry to have a much faster than average job outlook through 2022 and the industry is expected to grow 24 percent in the United States. The median pay listed for carpenters in 2012 was $39,940 annually.
Recent MNTC carpentry graduate Alejandro Martinez has found quick success in the industry. He finished the class in May and put his skills into action when he started working with the local pergola business, GreenOkie.
Martinez said, "I know I have a real understanding about construction because of this class. I know how to perform jobs like cabinet making, framing, sheeting, roofing and installation of different parts of homes, and how to work independently and on a team. I'm glad I took this class."
MNTC's carpentry class has immediate openings for adult students in the morning, afternoon, or all-day options. Estell said his graduates get hired on almost immediately, or prior to graduation, with good prospects for upward movement within the industry. Students in the carpentry class not only have the experience of construction a complete home that is put up for sale, but they will have also earned General Construction Induction Card - formerly called a Blue Card – and an OSHA 10 Card prior to graduation, something most construction groups see as an immediate asset when hiring an employee.
"Students in my class learn all aspects of reading blueprints, framing, cabinetry and working on a team. They're ready for work immediately and I see so many of my graduates thriving in industry. When my graduates apply for work, just having completed a program like this sometimes can mean an additional $3-5 per hour; that's huge for any employee," said Estell.
Estell also said that after completing MNTC's carpentry class, students will have earned enough hours to be considered an apprentice.
For more information about MNTC, visit www.mntc.edu or call (405) 364-5763, ext. 7260.
Anna Aguilar-Trowbridge, M.A., APR
Media & Creative Coordinator
Moore Norman Technology Center
405-364-5763, ext. 7575