Educators seek to fill skill gap in workforce

Educators seek to fill skill gap in workforce
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A skill gap is creating a labor shortage in the electrician industry across America.

Business experts expect a shortage of about 60,000 electricians by 2026.

For hands-on workers like Sandon Salm, a traditional college education just wasn’t the right fit.

“I actually went to college for a year and everyone in the college said that, whenever I was about to drop out to do something different, they said that was the worst idea ever and I’d never get a job,” said Salm, now attending classes at the Joplin Advanced Training & Technology Center.

Skilled jobs are in high demand though, and hard work pays off for those in the electrical industry.

“We have employees that make upwards of $75-80,000 a year so it all depends on your committment, and your education, and your skill level,” explained Brandon Wilson, President of Bill’s Electric.

Based on the salary, the shortage may come as a shock, but it’s a problem businesses like Bill’s Electric saw coming and planned for.

“Three years ago we partnered with Crowder College in regards to trying to create a skilled work force from within and so what we do is every other year, we have 12 new students, Bill’s Electric Employees, attend a class at Crowder College that we instruct. Hopefully, at the end of this, we’ll have a bunch of individuals that’s ready to take their Journeyman exam and pass,” said Wilson.

Students in the class are full-time Bill’s Electric employees, going to school one day a week.

“You’re learning everything from the equations to just the basic skills, go over everything from actually working out in the field, to code, and actually getting into the books as well. So, you get the knowledge on both sides.” said Salm.

The partnership is raising awareness for students like Salm, happy he switched to something he loves.

“Do what you wanna do. If you wanna work with your hands, just pursue that because there are a lot of jobs out there that people are needing skilled workers to be out in the field doing something instead of getting a degree in something you may or may not get a job in.”

If you’re interested in additional information regarding apprenticeships at Crowder, you can contact Kathy Collier at or call 417-455-5773.