HOUSTON - As you make your way through the day, it's always a good time to thank the people who keep the world working they way it's supposed to.
September 16 is National Tradesmen Day, a day to honor those in the skilled trades, as there's an insatiable need for people who know how to work with their hands.
Of the more than 11 million job openings in the U.S., about 40% are in the trades: Builders, plumbers, welders, electricians, mechanics. For those interested, there is opportunity to be found.
At MIAT College of Technology, Cody Haley is hunched over a plate of steel, practicing a welding-technique. He was never interested in a traditional college degree, but after a stint in the Army, Haley found a future learning to work on aircraft maintenance. The world, he says, needs people who can work with their hands,
"We make things 'go'. If something breaks down, we fix it; if something goes wrong, we fix it. People who know how to work with their hands are pretty-much keeping everything else in business."
He's not alone. At the North Houston campus, there is increasing demand to learn a trade, where the school anticipates graduating hundreds of students over the coming year, who should find easy employment when they're out.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects tens of thousands of job openings for skilled trades-people, including carpenters, construction workers, electricians and plumbers.
"A lot of students come to do some things that are fun, for one," says MIAT director Titus Hubbard, "Two, it's going to pay no matter if they have a continuous job, or they start their own business. Many students come through the doors to get that freedom."
That 'freedom' is exactly what Cody Haley is looking forward to.
"I worked hard, got what I wanted, and now I'm doing what I want," he says, "I enjoy it."
Demand for skilled-workers continues as the pandemic and retirements have prompted existing workers to move on. For those who've got six-months to two-years to learn a trade, at a cost far below a traditional college, opportunity is waiting.