CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Many workers were left without jobs as businesses closed down in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Craft Training Center of the Coastal Bend offers training courses for people to learn trade skills, and following its reopening in June of 2020, they saw an increase in students.
“Classes at night did improve in numbers. We think that’s why it was, they wanted to be essential workers, not somebody that could be laid off pretty easily,” said Allen Law, the president of CTC. “We have increased each semester since then, a little bit each one, so it’s still showing some growth, of people wanting to go out and get these jobs.”
CTC offers courses in pipefitting, welding, industrial painting, and more, for both adults and high school students. In fact, CTC works closely with several local school districts to offer programs for high school students starting as early as sophomore year.
“We have those agreements, and they come as part of their school day. They go to their campus, they bus them here for two hours, bus them back, and they finish their school at their place,” Law said.
For the students, up to three years of training before graduation can be incredibly useful, as some can go directly into a full-time business after graduating.
“Craft Training Center helps kids, helped me, just basically learn the basics of welding, learn what you could be doing out in the field,” said Austin Majek, a student at Calallen High School, who worked in the CTC welding program.
“It’s really important for them, so they can get out there and start making a good living for them and their future families,” Law said about the program.
CTC works closely with businesses in the Coastal Bend, which allows students to learn from skilled professionals.
“The instructors have a lot of experience, it’s not just somebody who has been taught about it, and then goes and does it, it’s somebody who has actually done it, been in the field, and has a lot of experience,” said James Rocha, a student at Woodsboro High School, who also worked in the welding program.
Over the last few months, the Coastal Bend has seen an increase in the demand for workers, and Law said CTC has noticed more companies asking for workers.
“Just recently, basically last month or so, we’ve had a lot of calls that, ‘hey we need some employees, what do you got?’” he said.
Adults do not need a high school diploma or GED to take classes at CTC, but must pass a drug test.