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Valley trade schools rolling out big incentives to attract and retain instructors

Trade schools
Posted at 4:02 PM, Aug 11, 2021

PHOENIX — ABC15 has been tracking the state of education and the ongoing teacher shortage that is plaguing so many of Arizona's classrooms.

Trade schools are no exception and that has some Valley programs rolling out big incentives to attract and retain qualified instructors.

National Technical Institute in Phoenix teaches HVAC, electrical, and plumbing students.

"They are entry-level in those careers in 16 weeks," said Russell Gill, VP of enrollment and business operations.

It is a quick turnaround time, but one that still cannot keep up with the surging demand for skilled labor. According to Build Your Future Arizona, the state's construction industry alone is expected to hit 150,000 unfilled jobs by September of 2022.

Another shortage is only fueling that trend.

"I put in about 60 hours a week, three classes, and if there was another instructor and he put in the same time, we could double our output," said NTI's Lead HVAC Instructor, Mark Williams.

Simply put, schools like NTI need a lot more Marks. They are longtime industry professionals looking to give back to their trade, even if leaving their job in the field comes with a pay cut.

"I was never laid off, so there was always work there, and sometimes too much," said Williams.

The need is so great NTI has upgraded instructor salaries and is now offering a signing bonus of up to $10,000 based on experience and number of teaching hours, and they are not the only ones.

East Valley Institute of Technology, or EVIT, telling ABC15 it too is struggling to fill open teaching positions in their HVACR, Healthcare, and Aviation programs.

Since 2018 it has increased teacher salaries by 24 percent and is offering a stipend between $5,000-$10,000 for those harder to fill positions.

"The shortage of instructors is only going to exacerbate the problem," said Gill.

It is a problem that could find its way to your home sooner than you think.

"I hate pushing customers out 2-3 weeks to get a repair done, but that's just because of the lack of people," said Williams.