INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 4, 2019) – The House Employment, Labor and Pensions Committee recently supported State Rep. Bob Morris’ (R-Fort Wayne) legislation to make it easier for those pursuing a career in the plumbing trade.
According to Morris, the legislation would help accelerate the apprentice plumber’s application process. This would put licensed apprentices into the field quicker and bolster employment numbers in an industry having trouble attracting workers.
To become a licensed plumber, tradespeople must complete an apprenticeship program, which requires approximately 4 to 5 years of hands-on training in combination with classroom learning. Before beginning and being credited for any part of that program, all potential apprentices must obtain an apprenticeship license.
“Currently, many qualified applicants are on an apprenticeship program waitlist and unable to immediately begin their training,” Morris said. “This legislation would allow those individuals to start the hands-on segment of their education while they wait to attend the classroom learning portion. It also could help fill the shortage of apprentice plumbers for plumbing contractors.”
Morris said this could lead to increasing the number of available licensed plumbers, something the trade desperately needs. According to the Indiana Plumbing Commission, the average age of a plumber in Indiana is over 55.
“We have a licensed plumber shortage staring us in the face as over half of America’s skilled trade workers are nearing retirement age,” Morris said. “After years of steering our youth to pursue degrees instead of vocational work, the ranks of skilled tradespeople have dropped.”
Morris said there isn’t just a plumber shortage, the lack of skilled tradespeople expands into all infrastructure-related jobs. According to the U.S. Department of Education, there will be 68 percent more openings in those fields over the next several years than people preparing to fill them.
“Well-paying opportunities exist without the necessity of accruing a large debt incurred by traditional four-year degrees,” Morris said. “We need younger workers to take interest in the trades as a career. This is just one small piece of legislation intended to make it easier for those pursuing plumbing as a career.”
State Rep. Bob Morris (R-Fort Wayne) represents House
District 83, which includes a portion of Allen County.
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