High paying apprenticeships available in skilled trades

Paid apprenticeships are available for people looking to learn skilled trades. It's a program that can lead to high-paying jobs without having to attend college.

The Houston Gulf Coast Building and Construction Trades Council is taking applications for a free course that leads to these apprenticeships.

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The program has already changed the life of a young man, who saw our story about it on FOX 26.

24-year-old Ivan Hernandez saw our story on the FOX 26 YouTube page and knew it was for him.

"I saw it on YouTube, going over what the program was about. And it really caught my eye, caught my attention," said Hernandez.

Hernandez attended the three-week Apprenticeship Readiness Program through the Houston Gulf Coast Building and Construction Trades Council, which prepared him to choose one of 13 paid apprenticeships in skilled trades, including construction, electrical, plumbing, and ironwork.  

The 5-year apprenticeships offer wages starting between $15 and $25 an hour, increasing up to $45, plus health insurance and a pension plan.  

"That’s a big help. That’s the main reason I got into the program, to get a career going for myself. Earning has been helping me and my family," said Hernandez.


He's now learning to be a pipefitter at Letsos Company.

"Getting enough qualified people is a challenge at times," said Stephen Graham with Letsos Company.

The companies get workers specifically trained for their needs.

"We look at it as an investment. We’re training for our future," said Graham.

It comes at a time when skilled trade workers are in high demand.

"I’d say we're in need, in the next six months, of 500 workers," said Bryan Edwards with the Pipefitters Local Union No 211. "Due to the infrastructure bill, this work is really blasting off right now."

And it's providing a life-changing opportunity.

"The level of confidence from when they start to when they end is night and day. They come out with an understanding of worth, self-worth," said Paul Puente, Executive Secretary of the Trades Council.

"I think I’d like to continue working in the company or maybe at some point start my own business," said Hernandez.

They're taking applications now for the September program.