Texas A&M RELLIS Campus helping meet high demand job needs for skilled workforce

The RELLIS Campus is seeing increased demand for skilled jobs including welding and other trades.
Published: May. 5, 2021 at 6:14 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - As our economy recovers from the effects of 2020 and the COVID pandemic, the need for skilled workers is still high.

The Texas A&M RELLIS Campus is preparing people for in-demand and good paying jobs. Last September they dedicated the new Agricultural Workforce and Education Complex.

“I had a lot of people tell me no one wants to do this stuff. No one wants to work for it and get dirty and do this kind of stuff and it’s a good career opportunity. You can make a life out of doing it,” said Tyler Allen, a Blinn College Welding Program Student.

He and other students see a bright future at the RELLIS Campus.

“The trades are in right now. Everybody’s going to college and getting that four year degree but not everybody thinks about the trades,” said Allen.

“I’m just ready to graduate and get into a job, any job honestly,” said Ulises Cruz, a Blinn College Welding Program Student.

The American Welding Society expects a shortage of 375,000 welders by 2023. Companies like Bartlett Cocke General Contractors say the training at RELLIS is vital.

“The Agricultural Workforce Center was a huge win for us and for the industry, it’s the first step in really getting our workforce in place,” said Marty Garza, Bartlett Cocke General Contractors Higher Education Market Leader.

“Our biggest challenge is finding skilled workforce. We have been hiring people that were unskilled and then having to train them as we go,” said Garza. He adds welders can expect to start at $20 an hour after training and it goes up from there.

RELLIS officials say enrollment is growing for these high demand jobs, but there are still labor shortages in fields from construction to truck driving.

“Once we opened up this complex it has really started making a dent in you know providing for this region. You know the workforce that is needed,” said James Nelson, Ph.D., Texas A&M RELLIS Academic Alliance Director and Associate Vice Chancellor.

“The industry is constantly looking and where we sit right now on the Gulf Coast from Corpus to New Orleans, you’re looking at the largest industrial area in the world so there’s constantly a need,” said Dickie Jones, Blinn College District Program Manager for Welding.

James Nelson with RELLIS tells us enrollment, which includes Texas A&M System Schools and Blinn College, is close to 3,000 students now.

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