Governor Calvo is excited that Guam’s economy is growing. In his weekly column, he encourages those looking for a good career to consider getting a trade at GCC. Construction-related fields are a high-growth area for jobs. In the text below, you can learn how easy it is to get an education at GCC that translates into a good-paying job, and the numbers to call to enroll. Guam is growing! Don’t miss the boat!
Opportunity is knocking
By Eddie Baza Calvo
Want a good-paying job? How about one that leads to a great career? Opportunity is knocking.
The growing economy is demanding more workers. The expanding list of job openings points to business growth. But it also points to a problem: many job seekers aren’t qualified for these positions.
It would be nice to fill these positions right now with Guamanians. But we’ve got to think further into the future. That’s necessary for two reasons. First, our attention always should be on future growth. Second and more practical, it will take some time for Guamanians interested in higher-paying jobs to learn and earn the skills and certifications needed for those jobs.
But how much time? And what will it cost? And can I go to school to learn these skills while I’m working my current job? Who will watch my kids while I’m learning these skills? And, most practical of all, will this job be available when I’m done getting certified?
The problem with waiting for economic growth to bring opportunity is you may not fit into the initial plans. That’s why it’s always a good idea to make your own plans. There’s a favor the business community can do for the workforce — especially those who can’t seem to qualify for much. Businesses can tell the public what kind of jobs will be available as far out as they can project.
My office tested whether construction companies hiring right now would be hiring in a year or two. We chose this industry for obvious reasons: it’s pretty clear construction companies will be busy over the next decade. The military buildup will bring billions in activity, and so will our housing, utilities, and roads projects. So, we asked a couple companies looking for HVAC workers whether they will be looking for these positions over the next two years. The answer was an absolute “Yes!” HVAC stands for “heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.” On Guam, your services are needed everywhere, at top dollar. The starting rate for this job, by the two companies’ accounts, was $15.75 an hour. That will gross you $2,730 a month if you work full time. Depending on who’s depending on you, you’d be starting off with good money for a mortgage or rent, car payment, cell phone bill, power, water, and food. It’s a pretty good deal.
Can you get certified within a couple years? Actually, yes. You can earn an HVAC certificate that conforms to U.S. Department of Labor standards after three semesters of classes at Guam Community College. It will cost about $5,000, which you can easily get through a Pell grant. You’re virtually guaranteed a job in a career that will pay you well, because as we all know, air conditioning will be in demand for a very long time on our island. Your pay will increase because HVAC is a highly skilled, highly technical field, and your skills will definitely be in demand. And if you want, you can continue your schooling to earn another degree.
Or, you can find an HVAC company that takes part in GCC’s apprenticeship program. If they hire you as an entry-level worker, you work during the day and get on the job training, and take classes at night to earn your journey worker certificate. The great thing about the apprenticeship program is that not only do you have a guaranteed paying job because the company is investing in you, but also, all the GCC classes are fully paid for by the U.S. Department of Labor. You don’t pay to go to school. Now the apprenticeship program takes longer — up to four years, but at the end, you will have that journey worker certificate, which in the construction industry is worth gold. Your pay will increase exponentially.
Another alternative is to get training through the Guam Trades Academy and secure a job through your training there.
This is just one career example in one industry, using information from two companies. Imagine what else is out there for you. Guam is growing. Opportunity isn’t just knocking. It’s shouting out your name.
To find out more about opportunities in the construction industry, contact GCC at 735-5638, or the Guam Trades Academy at 647-4842.