Welding and other skilled trades are in demand and demanding respect – and Craft Training Center of the Coastal Bend is addressing the need.
Special to INSPIRE COASTAL BEND
“It’s about time that we address our workforce,” says Dr. Michael Sandroussi in response to a question about the passage of House Bill 5 in Texas and the growing national support for vocational training.
As an educator, Sandroussi knows that everyone has a different learning style. He also knows from his experience as a campus principal and superintendent of schools that students who are not actively engaged in learning often drop out of school.
“Not everyone is an auditory learner,” Sandroussi says. “About half of the students in class are hands-on (kinesthetic/tactile) learners. This means that they learn by doing and are mechanically inclined. Students that fit this mold learn by using their hands to apply the information that they are learning in a classroom setting. They want to see how math actually works in everyday life, learning from real experiences rather than a classroom lecture.”
Thank goodness for changing attitudes about career preparation that no longer just focus on attending college. According to Sandroussi, Craft Training Center of the Coastal Bend (CTCCB) is a hidden treasure that is slowly being discovered. High schools are starting to address the needs of students who want to enter the workforce immediately after high school graduation. The students who attend CTCCB thrive in classroom environments where 100 percent of their time is devoted to perfecting their craft – skills that will directly lead to employment.
The goal of CTCCB is to develop craft professionals who are drug-free, experienced and capable to work under the highest professional standards. Curriculum and instruction are delivered utilizing the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) program. Strong partnerships with public schools, colleges, contractors, plant representatives and state and local officials facilitate the training of tomorrow’s workforce.
Founded in 1987, CTCCB was born out of the need for skilled labor. Coastal Bend employers were experiencing a shortage of qualified workers, so CTCCB was created to address the workforce shortage. The organization’s leadership actively pursued high school students and adults in order to start training skilled craftsmen. While hundreds of men and women were graduating from CTCCB each year, thousands more knew nothing about the place. According to Sandroussi, all of that is changing now.
“This country, and our community, is finally realizing that we’re facing a shortage of skilled craft professionals in the workforce throughout the nation,” he says. “We already knew it here in the Coastal Bend, but now it seems companies all over the nation are realizing that we have a problem. I see it myself not only as president of the CTCCB, but an advocate to develop trained craftsmen to address the workforce shortage, which in turn, improves the quality of life for our human race.”
The industry and the government are noticing, indeed, as CTCCB recently was featured in the Wall Street Journal. Former West Oso High School student Anthony Solis was featured in a story about how his decision to learn welding in order to get out of his regular classes at West Oso High School changed his life. Since he dropped out of school, Solis has gotten a great job as a welder, and he can earn $75,000 to $100,000 this year.
“I can think of several college graduates that aren’t making anywhere near that amount of money,” Sandroussi said. “The attitude that blue-collar jobs were low-paying and less important really discouraged a lot of people from choosing skilled crafts as a career, but now the backbone of America are the blue-collar workers. When these individuals are not working, America suffers.”
The national, state and local governments are now sounding the alarm: We need more skilled craftsmen and women! If we do not develop our workforce in America, we’ll lose local jobs to workers outside of Texas and the United States. New companies around the world are building many plants in the Coastal Bend; it is time to get serious and get trained!
About Craft Training Center of the Coastal Bend
Craft Training Center of the Coastal Bend (CTCCB) is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization. The training center is a state-of-the-art training facility, and all programs offered are fully accredited by the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). Courses offered include welding, pipefitting, scaffold building, field safety, safety technology, industrial painting, mobile crane operations and instrumentation. CTCCB also has DOL apprenticeship programs in electrical and plumbing.
To learn more about Craft Training Center of the Coastal Bend, visit www.ctccb.org or call 361-289-1636.