MEDFORD, Ore. -- Accurate Plumbing Solutions in Medford says it hasn’t had a new apprentice in years. In order to change that, there needs to be outreach.
NewsWatch12 spoke with 26-year-old Chris Wilson, who is currently in his third year of the apprenticeship program with one more to go.
He says he fell into the opportunity instead of seeking it out, mainly because skilled trades weren’t talked about in school.
“If I had someone to mentor me I would have looked more into it," says Chris Wilson.
Accurate Plumbing Solutions says a majority of its employees are older. The amount of younger people applying is not meeting the demand for work.
“Maybe they’re trying to go to school or haven't figured out what they want to do in life yet, not realizing a trade school or trade option is a really good option for the future," says Brent Carlson, the Owner of Accurate Plumbing Solutions.
The State of Oregon says there are dozens of plumbing position openings every year in the Rogue Valley. The job field is expected to grow by 16 percent by 2026.
Both Brent and Chris agree that there needs to be outreach on the high school level, so kids can graduate and go right into an apprenticeship.
"People need to be aware that by going through programs like this you’re going to be making top wages in a career that has benefits, retirement plans, and get pretty well set up for the rest of your life," says Brent Carlson.
Chris tells NewsWatch12 that this is not only good for increasing the trade skill workforce, but also for keeping them in Southern Oregon.
“This is an option. You can stay in the Rogue Valley, you can work and go to school at the same time, and most employers do pay for your schooling," says Chris Wilson.