Commercial Contractor Titus Electrical Helps Bridge the Trades Gap with Altierus Career College, Austin

October 18, 2017 | By Thomas Birdwell

Ranked the ninth fastest-growing city by the U.S. Census Bureau, Austin, Texas, is enjoying a long-running building boom that keeps commercial and residential construction companies humming. Like others in the industry, Austin-based commercial contractor Titus Electrical says finding qualified employees is among its greatest challenges to meeting demand.

More important is finding incoming professionals who possess the high standards that characterize Titus employees, according to Titus human resources manager Rodger Huse.

“Titus Electrical needs to find new team members who have the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) that we require to build high-profile commercial and industrial projects,” Huse said. “Our labor market is very competitive in Austin, so finding great people is not easy.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that challenge will only increase as demand for electrical and HVAC professionals are projected to grow 14 percent through 2024, a rate much faster than the average for other occupations. The need becomes especially acute as baby boomers retire, leaving openings in their wake.

Altierus Career College in Austin is helping to bridge the skills–or trades–gap by partnering with employers like Titus and providing an alternative path for students pursuing a career in the electrical industry.

“It really helps us to know that Altierus strives to educate and train people for careers in the electrical industry,” Huse said. “The facilities are fantastic and Altierus teachers are great at helping novices quickly become working apprentices.”

Much of the credit for Altierus programs goes to employer partners that get involved in shaping programs and advising both students and educators, said Dr. Sylento Lewis, executive director for the six Altierus Career College campus locations in Texas. As a member of Altierus’ Partner Advisory Committee (PAC), Titus is on campus regularly to provide feedback, shape curriculum and foster the success of students learning the trades through Altierus’ Electrical Assistant program.

“The partnership of Texas employers like Titus is imperative to the success of our programs and our students,” Lewis said. “Our focus is on helping students secure jobs in their field and to be able to add value from day one on the job. PAC members help us continually evolve our programs to meet the changing needs of local employers.”

The results, said Huse, are encouraging.

“Not only have we had great success in hiring graduates from Altierus in the past, we also plan to continue meeting with each graduating class because we know they possess the KSAs that Titus values,” Huse said.

Those incoming professionals will enjoy interesting work ahead, according to the BLS, as homes and businesses require more wiring for everything from “smart” devices to solar panels, and electricians are needed to install the necessary components. Over the coming decade, alternative power generation, such as solar and wind, will also require more electricians for installation as well as linking these alternative power sources to homes and power grids.

Thomas Birdwell is director of career services, Altierus Career College, Austin