Dallas College is looking to upskill 1,571 people in the construction industry. This program is backed by a $3.5 million grant from the Texas Workforce Commission.

Pyeper Wilkins, vice chancellor of workforce and advancement at Dallas College, explained to The Dallas Morning News that the program is oriented towards construction because “everything is built on construction.” She added that the sector is struggling most with the tight labor market and employers want to recruit a pool of candidates who can do the job.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, nearly half of 384 Texas business executives mentioned in a recently conducted survey that lack of manpower is a serious issue, especially when it comes to skilled tradespeople.

Responding to common impressions of the industry, Wilkins guaranteed that construction jobs are not just dirty ones. “There’s a lot of technology involved in all of this. And I think a lot of people don’t realize how much money you can make and what a promising career pathway construction can be,” she said.

Wilkins noted that irrespective of where anyone stays or lives, careers in construction are critical to economic growth. “And these are good paying jobs and good career paths for people,” she emphasized.

According to The Dallas Morning News, the college plans to work with 18 companies from industries such as plumbing, heating, cooling, and electrical. While most of them are based in Dallas and Tarrant counties, they also have other work branches throughout the state.

The companies partnering with Dallas College on this project include Armstrong Mechanical Company Inc, Marek Brothers Systems LLC, Lochridge-Priest Inc, JMEG LLC, Boen Plumbing Inc, and Big Thicket Plumbing Inc, among others.

The training sessions will take place at Dallas College and on the premises of one of the 18 businesses. The initiative, Wilkins explained, will focus primarily on hands-on training, such as operating forklifts and doing electrical work.

Organizers hope to boost efficiency and increase productivity in the construction industry with the training program. While over 1,000 of the trainees already work with one of the companies, the others will be newly hired, The Dallas Morning News reported.

Just as it seeks to help more people break into the industry, the initiative is aimed at equipping current construction workers with new skills so that they can increase their earnings.

The training, Wilkins believes, will aid the creation of more careers in construction, ultimately promoting economic growth.