For many years, the residential building technology construction program at Yavapai College has been training men and women to enter the construction industry as skilled professionals and the RBT program at Yavapai College was one of the few programs of its kind.
It is a sad day at best that this accredited program has been "suspended" and is no longer offering classroom instruction, sustainable building practices and fundamentals allowing students to apply their skills towards such an important industry.
Yes, the number of students in the program has declined over the years. However, there is still a need for this industry training and education. Even though we are faced with challenging times in our industry, we need to train workers for the future. We have an aging workforce and with the economy improving we will need new, skilled workers.
What caused the lack of interest in the trades programs? Are our educators so geared towards a thrust for career and college that we are leaving out many Americans that do not have the desire to go to college, however they are hard-working and needs jobs? There remains a need for the trades programs that should be a part of the JTED curriculum.
Recruitment efforts are challenging in our area and will become even greater as the economy improves. The Arizona construction industry is already experiencing serious labor shortages that are going to hamper our recovery and there are real job opportunities that are going to go unmet. Construction jobs cannot be outsourced, and provide a good quality living. Students and adults can prepare for these opportunities by learning about construction careers. There is a great need of instilling the basic awareness that construction and skilled trades are viable employment options and there are real opportunities right around the corner and we cannot afford to relax recruitment opportunities and efforts. Construction is a pathway to good employment and wages yes, do vary, but are quite good when compared with low-skill jobs.
We need stakeholder support from JTED and Yavapai College for job readiness training and classes offering an overview of construction trades. JTED is an important tool in our community - let's together carve out a road to gainful employment for the skilled trades.