Campus & Community

Building the future of skilled trades through innovation and inclusion

In a recent interview with ESPN Deportes Radio, Dr. Eligio Márquez Veray, the district associate dean for Trade & Industry at Palm Beach State College, shared insights into how the college is addressing the critical shortage of skilled workers in construction and related fields. As the nation grapples with the looming crisis of a dwindling workforce in the trades, PBSC stands at the forefront of innovation and education, preparing a new generation to build America’s future.

Dr. Eligio Márquez Veray and Julian Zaldivar, host and General Manager Deportes Radio 760AM ESPN at Deportes Studio in Downtown West Palm.

A groundbreaking approach to trades education

At the heart of PBSC’s strategy is the Construction Trades Center for Workforce Innovation. PBSC is set to revolutionize trades education by simulating real job site conditions, providing students with hands-on experience that mirrors the collaborative nature of modern construction projects. “We’re bringing electricians, low voltage technicians, HVAC & refrigeration technicians, and construction managers together, just as they would work on any job site,” Márquez Veray explained. With the support of donations from Klein Tools and the $1 million grant from Lowe’s, the center will offer state-of-the-art training labs equipped with the latest tools and technology.

Tackling the trades gap with targeted recruitment and education

Márquez Veray highlighted the urgency of addressing the trade gap, noting the retirement of thousands of workers each year and the insufficient pipeline of trained replacements. “For every five people who retire, only one is trained to replace them,” he stated, underscoring the industry’s challenge. PBSC’s response includes reaching out to first-generation students and offering a wide range of trade programs that can lead to technical career advancement within 3 to 18 months.

Empowering Hispanic students and the broader community

Recognized as a Hispanic-serving institution, PBSC is committed to increasing the participation of Hispanic students in skilled trades. The college offers classes at night and in Spanish, including a Spanish language residential HVAC course, and has bilingual instructors for welding and CNC Production Specialist courses. Márquez Veray also highlighted PBSC’s Early College Academy and TRIO programs, which provide targeted support for underrepresented students, including first-generation college students, to navigate the path to higher education and successful trade careers.

An open invitation to discover and grow

Márquez Veray extended an invitation to prospective students and their families to learn more about the opportunities available at PBSC. With information sessions, including ones conducted in Spanish, and tours of the campus and training labs, PBSC is making it easier for the community to explore the pathways to a rewarding career in the trades. The next information session, focusing on the Industry Certificate program in Residential, Cooling, and Heating, is scheduled for April 15th at the Lake Worth Campus.

As Palm Beach State College continues to innovate and expand its offerings in the trades, it stands as a beacon of hope and opportunity for individuals looking to build not just a career but the very infrastructure of our future. Visit PBSC’s Career Pathways to learn more about how you can be part of this exciting journey.

A copy of the interview, which is in Spanish, is available here

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