COLORADO SPRINGS – Many economists across the country say, due to a large amount of job openings across several industries, its one of the best times for people to consider a career change.
“With so much disruption in the labor market right now, many people are asking themselves almost existential questions about how they make a living and maybe, what they want to do long term, in terms of their jobs,” said Tatiana Bailey, a Ph.D. Economist and director of the Economic Forum at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs.
In El Paso County alone, there are hundreds of job postings for highly qualified jobs like registered nurses, but hundreds more in careers that require far less schooling or training.
Truck Driving, automotive technicians, nursing assistants, and even some computer administration careers require training certifications, not necessarily a college degree.
“One thing I think we maybe can do a better job of is informing people about what these high demand occupations are and what types of skills are needed,” Bailey says, “Contrary to popular belief, it’s not either a four-year degree or flipping burgers. A lot of times there are really good-paying jobs and career pathways for the ‘in-between jobs’ as I call them.”
For years, the Pikes Peak Workforce Center has been helping connect people with new careers, and, coming out of the pandemic, the office has received grant money from the State of Colorado to help train or retrain people whose careers have been affected by the pandemic.
“It doesn’t matter if you have multiple Ph.D.’s or never graduated eighth grade, we are here to help you and journey with you,” said Traci Marques, the CEO and executive director of the Pikes Peak Workforce Center.
“Is there a certification that you need to be able to into that next job or do you want to move up in your organization?”
Marques says the grant money helps with ‘re-skilling’, helping people obtain skills to move up in their company, as well as ‘up-skilling’ and ‘next-skilling’, helping people obtain the skills needed to find a new career, potentially in a new industry.” The re-skilling grants are also open to employers who want to help their employees add to their skill set.
“Why is [labor participation] low?” Bailey questions, “I think a lot of it has to do with the skills gap.”
The Pikes Peak workforce center has a facility to help with these programs at 1049 N. Academy Blvd and their website, PPWFC.org.