Find a Better Job with Trade Skills Training

Bryant Black

Director, Workforce Development
Greater Houston Partnership

Do you want to find a better job or have the chance to be advanced in your trade? Then you need to invest in trade skills training. In workforce management, we call this investment “upskilling.”

While trade skills training is important to many industries, it is especially so for construction. So who is most likely to benefit from participating in training to grow their career path?

Candidates for Trade Skills Training

There are four basic populations that should seek trade skills training:

  1. Unskilled workers – those that possess no trade skills and are either unemployed or employed in another industry.
  2. Veterans as they transition to civilian careers.
  3. Second chance employees exiting state and federal systems.
  4. Anyone who is seeking a career in construction either field or office.

If you are one of these individuals, keep reading to find out what makes a good training program for you.

Finding the Right ProgramSkills training should include a variety of items in the curriculum but should mainly focus on providing practical knowledge and practice to grow competency in a trade. When shopping for a trade school or trade training program, it’s important to remember that this is much like buying a car or a house.
Training programs come with a variety of price tags and amenities attached. So, as a guideline, make sure you examine the following items:

  • The content they teach you.
  • The time commitment to certification or mastery of skill.
  • The cost of the training.
  • If there is assistance finding employment upon completion.

1. Content

Depending upon what type of program you are seeking the content should always include some theory and a lot of hands-on practice. Additionally, you should ask if the content will include items like financial literacy, fluency in a second language, and rigorous safety training.

2. Time Commitment

Now that you’ve examined your content let’s look at your time commitment. Time commitment is often driven by whether a program is registered as an apprenticeship, offered as on the job, or is a pre-work boot camp.


Registered apprenticeship programs must follow specific guidelines that allocate a certain number of hours to skill development relative to the number of hours in a classroom. Registered apprenticeships can run from one year to five years. They must be closely documented and provide enrolled trainees the ability to practice in the field alongside a journeyman as a working employee. They are offered by many different training providers including:

  • Union halls and their training facilities
  • Specific trade associations
  • National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER)
  • Workforce boards and their third-party providers

On-the-Job Training

On-the-job training generally has no set timeline. The learner is given some supervision and some education throughout the course of a work day and is allowed to progress at their own speed. While some employers leverage a competency map which may be guided by suggested timelines, many employers allow for expedited movement through their OJT programs or slower progress as is needed by the organization and individual.

Boot Camp

As construction continues to recruit more employees to manage the ongoing influx of construction projects, pre-employment boot camps are becoming a vital option for trade skilling programs.
Boot camps can range anywhere from 40 hours to 8 weeks. Much like military boot camps, these skills boot camps are meant to quickly prepare prospective employees to enter long-term training programs. Unlike apprenticeships and OJT programs, boot camps allow you to more quickly skill up for entry-level positions but generally do not allow you to work simultaneously.

3. Cost

When upskilling yourself in the trades it is important to weigh out the investment of the schooling to the return. Often apprenticeships, OJT, and even boot camps are free or employer-sponsored, but independent trade schools may charge tuition. These programs are good for unique niche skills specific to a trade. How training providers price their programs varies so it’s important to consider cost versus quality received.

4. Help with Employment

If you choose a provider that is not an employer or does not sponsor employment during training then knowing how you will find employment upon completion is critical. Nothing is worse than obtaining your certification only to find out that no one is hiring. It is good to know upfront if they offer placement services.

Step Up Your Career

The greatest piece of advice I’ve ever received was that my career is mine to own. So do all the trade professionals who hopefully read this blog. You are the master of your destiny. And we are here to help you steer your destiny in the right direction.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to Construction Career Collaborative (C3), where we are working with the top contractors, training partners, and community partners to grow careers and opportunities for trade professionals.

We may not have a job for you today, but we know that your skills and desire to step up your career will make you integral to the workforce building our tomorrow. Talk to us today about trade skills training that fits the stage of your career.

Have Questions About Partnering with C3?

Reach out to us for assistance.