AUSTIN, Texas — While trade schools are shut down, Workforce Solutions is connecting students to apprenticeships to earn their certification.

What You Need To Know

  • Trade schools shut down during pandemic

  • Many students waiting to finish school

  • Workforce Solutions pairs students with apprenticeships

An apprenticeship program in Austin is offering skilled trade labor students a new option during the pandemic. The already high demand for skilled trade labor has been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Trade schools shut their doors to keep students and faculty safe, delaying progress for students working toward their certification to begin work. 

Daniel Charley was months away from earning his HVAC certification when his classes at Austin Community College were canceled.

"I was ready to get my certification and everything hit the fan and life started changing for the worst," Charley said. 

Workforce Solutions has done its part to keep people employed during the pandemic. Talent development specialist Breelin Clark said this pandemic has a silver lining for students like Charley.

"In the past few weeks, there have been demands within the trade and technology industries," Clark said. "These demands provide new opportunities within entrepreneurship and apprenticeship programs all around the city." 

Workforce Solutions connected Charley to Stan's Heating and Air Conditioning. Vice President Roland Arrisola said the company needed the help to combat the busy summer months.

"I needed laborers, I needed folks, I needed apprentices," Arrisola said. "They sent me 10 different applicants. Danny was one of them."

Now Charley is finishing his training at Stan's, shadowing professionals in the field and taking lessons from in-house instructors. After his training, he'll be officially certified in HVAC repair and hopefully a job at Stan's Heating and Air Conditioning if he plays his cards right.

“I would rather be here doing hands-on than be at a desk doing papers," Charley said. "This is way better and I’m getting paid for it."

To learn more about Workforce Solutions and the apprenticeship program, visit its website