TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) – A total of 150 students will compete in the Southern Arizona Construction Competition this weekend. The program is called, Joint Technical Education District (JTED). Organizers said, it is important to showcase different types of trade fields, especially now. Worker shortages in most industries are at all-time high and they hope this program will change that.
Around 35% of business industries require a bachelor’s degrees or higher. But JTED focuses trade.
Chairman of the Arizona Builders Alliance for Southern Arizona Mike Goodwin said, the program is critical for students in today’s climate.
“If we are not proactive right now what that’s going to do is it’s going to impact the industry and our customers are going to take longer to build quality product and it is going to cost more.”
The current worker shortage is in industries like masonry, plumbing and carpentry. Goodwin said it was impacted by the pandemic. “Unfortunately, COVID forced a lot of guys to reconsider whether they wanted to stay in construction. So, the guys that were between the 65 and 70 category just retired and didn’t come back. You know, so that puts us short across the board.”
With a program like JTED he said they have lots of interest for future students looking to join, but, Covid-19 impacted that too.
“We’ve seen a little bit of a drop off and that’s because we haven’t been able to interact with the students as much,” he said. But, for students like Jacqueline Navarro it helped make all the difference while in high school.
“It gives you a plan B, always something that you can fall back on no matter what,” she said of the skills she’s learned since learning more about electrical during her time in the program. For the future of students like Navarro, Goodwin says the program could always use more funding. “As our program grows and our needs grow we need to have that pipeline to feed through in order to keep building Arizona.”
To learn more about the program you can visit JTED’s website here.
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