HOUSTON - High-paying jobs, no college degree required. That's what a construction trade group wants people to know is available, and they're currently taking applications for a free apprenticeship readiness course.
In this tight labor market, the construction industry is struggling to fill high-paying jobs.
The Houston Gulf Coast Building and Constructions Trade Council (HGCBCTC) is offering a free course to help people land paid apprenticeships for these jobs, which lets them "earn while they learn."
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"I was working different jobs, not a steady income. This was a blessing in disguise," said Christopher Lozano.
That blessing for Christopher Lozano was becoming a paid apprentice pipe fitter through the Apprenticeship Readiness Program/Multi-Craft Core Curriculum with the HGCBCTC.
"You go through your schooling, you get a raise. After you pass certain classes, you get another raise. You get certain certificates, you get another raise," explained Lozano.
Pipe fitting is one of several apprenticeships in high-demand fields as more baby boomers in skilled trades are retiring.
The free, three-week Apprenticeship Readiness Program prepares applicants to qualify for those apprenticeships.
"It also provides them with 40 hours of construction math. They go through blue reading and green construction and how we lower the environmental impact," said Paul Buente, Executive Secretary of the HGCBCTC.
Buente says too many people who are not college-bound don't know they can still land high-paying jobs. Apprenticeships include carpentry, electrical work, ironwork, plumbing, and more.
"Once they graduate, they're making $25 to $45 an hour. Plus the benefits. Healthcare that covers the individual and their family, including spouses and children. And a pension for retirement," said Buente.
That's $52,000 to $93,000 a year and a career Lozano is excited about. "It’s going to build my infrastructure, while I'm building the country’s infrastructure," he said.