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The time is right to consider a career in the trades

By Nancy Sweet, dean of the Workforce Institute at Lincoln Land Community College
Nancy Sweet

These past 15 months have given people much time and reason to take stock of their lives and their livelihood. The world has changed, and people are evaluating their futures. As we get to the end of this tunnel, there is good news: jobs are available, specifically in the trades such as welding, HVAC, construction, automotive technology and aviation mechanics. These positions are in high demand, and they can support a lifetime of high pay with great benefits. Further, the projected worker shortage in the skilled trades over the next five to 10 years is staggering. There are simply not enough workers to meet local demand.

Because of this, the timing is right for Lincoln Land Community College to launch the Workforce Institute. The Workforce Institute offers short-term, affordable training for these high-demand, high-wage occupations. Students will get in, get trained and get a job. We’ve made it so that it’s now even more convenient to enroll in our trade programs, with more start times, set schedules and personalized assistance. We’re less than half the cost of local private institutes and have financial assistance available for those who qualify. We support students all the way from enrolling, through their training and connecting them to local employers.

We’re encouraging new high school grads, and anyone wanting a new career, to consider a career in the trades. Employers are seeking a trained and diverse workforce, including workers from underrepresented groups. Even if you have never pictured yourself in the trades before, now is the time.

Imagine a job using your hands to create, build and fix things. Learning new things as new equipment, materials and technologies impact each area of the trades. Realizing that there is room in the trades for people with all sorts of skill sets.  Knowing that as the current generation retires, the opportunities for advancement are vast, and many of these areas are recession resistant and employ essential workers. Now is the time to picture yourself in the trades.

Still not convinced? The Workforce Institute is offering Workforce 101 sessions so you can “try on a trade.” LLCC invites those that are looking to start or change careers to try their hands at various trades and meet employers on Saturday, June 26. Morning (9-noon) sessions include welding, culinary arts, construction and aviation mechanics. Afternoon (1-4 p.m.) sessions are auto technology; heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC); and hospitality. At these sessions, you’ll roll up your sleeves and get hands-on with the kinds of work you’d be doing on the job. You’ll learn about the program, what it’s like to learn in our training labs, and talk with employers about careers in their industry, demand and wages. You’ll see if you can picture yourself in that career.

Registration for the event is at Workforce 101 participants will receive a gas card and Workforce Institute giveaways, and if they attend two sessions, a free lunch. All 101 sessions will be held at the Workforce Careers Center on the LLCC main campus except aviation mechanics, which is located at Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport.

Representatives from all Workforce Institute programs will be on hand at the event to talk to interested students and families. In addition to those training programs featured in the 101 sessions, the Workforce Institute includes truck driving, electrical distribution lineman and commercial electrical maintenance.

The trades are desperately short on workers. If you work in a trade and are good at what you do, there’s plenty of opportunity to make money. Trades do incredibly important work that is much needed in the world; without them, we couldn’t fix our cars, we would go without air conditioning and heating, new buildings couldn’t be built, and planes would not meet safety standards.

The Workforce Institute’s training programs are a great way to not only build your skill but also provide incredible value to others. If you’ve considered a change to a new career that provides stability, satisfaction and growth, now is the time to enroll at LLCC’s Workforce Institute.