Chamber connects local schools and industry to build trade school program

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April 29, 2018

Chamber connects local schools and industry to build trade school program

A trades training program, created through the combined energies of the chamber, RISD, local businesses and trade associations, has received initial funding.

As a curriculum begins development, the chamber is canvassing member companies to identify the region’s most needed skills.

The country has a job shortage in skilled trades, such as electrical, plumbing and construction. The chamber is partnering with education and business to help build the future workforce in these areas. “We can serve as intermediary between education and industry as we help our members attract and retain the best employees,” said the chamber’s VP of membership, Drew Snow.

About 25 percent of RISD graduates do not go to college, said Masud Shamsid-Deen, executive director of RISD’s career and technical education. “We need to provide options so that every student graduating from an RISD high school has the skills to earn a living wage.”

All students in the skilled trades academies will begin in their freshman year with soft skills training from basic workplace introductions, proper dress and timeliness and organizational structure. They will move on to job safety training exposure to many different skills that industry is seeking. In the junior and senior years, the students will move to more specific skills in which they have developed ability and passion.

RISD has already established training for automotive tech, cosmetology and culinary arts. Recently nursing and med tech was added allowing students to be immediately eligible for hire at Richardson Methodist Medical Centers and other full-service facilities. In addition, the Texas Education Agency will update curriculum in the next academic year.

In October, the chamber hosted 20 companies in the construction and skilled labor industries at a working lunch with the school district, Richland College, Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) and National Association of the Remodeling Industry.

Outcomes of the meeting included establishing a two-track course of action with part-time hiring of non-skilled high school students to work in areas like job prep, clean-up, etc. At the same time, curriculum for HVAC, electrician, plumbing, carpentry and more is being developed.

IEC and plumber’s union members offered to explore current TEA-approved curriculum to help create a certification of basic construction skills along with on-the-job training during high school resulting in a pipeline of entry level employees coming out of school prepared to work and without the debt of college.

Dallas County Community College District has been committed to providing skilled workers for a competitive local economy since it was founded in 1965. The seven colleges of DCCCD provide workforce training programs that are designed to educate and produce workers whose skills match current and projected economic demands.

If you wish to participate, please contact Drew Snow at 972-792-2805 or 


Drew Snow, Vice President Member Services
(972) 792-2812