NewsState of Growth


These are the top five jobs in the Pikes Peak region that do not require a college degree

construction jobs
Posted at 9:35 PM, Sep 07, 2023

COLORADO SPRINGS — According to the Pikes Peak Workforce Center, there are job openings in many industries in Southern Colorado, including blue collar jobs. Blue collar refers to careers surrounding manual labor or skilled trades such as construction, maintenance and manufacturing.

In 2023 from May through July, the top five job postings in construction were the following:

  • electricians
  • heating and air conditioning mechanics
  • carpenters
  • plumbers
  • painters

“The reality is there are open positions at homebuilding companies, trade companies, we have a storage of skilled labor such as electricians and plumbers, plus craft trades like drywall that I am in, concrete, carpenters, some of the others,” Reyner said.
Mark Reyner is the president of the Housing and Building Association and Wetherbee Drywall in Colorado Springs. Reyner said there are many job openings in the trades, and that they are a great career path for people who are ready to get to work and work hard.

“I feel like the trades have been overlooked for a long time, so that has resulted in a shortage of trade workers,” Reyner said.

In manufacturing, there were 159 job postings for welders and 65 jobs for machinists. All together, there were more than 2,000 job postings in construction and manufacturing over three months this summer. Reyner said there are actually even more jobs available then the ones posted because most of the time, construction work is not posted online.

“A lot of it is word of month, it's who people know it, working in their network, its being on the job site, its working around those folks,” Reyner said.

Reyner has years of experience working in and around construction and admits the industry could do a better job posting their open positions online.

“But it's a challenge to find those folks and for those folks to find that work. So there is a little gap that is not being bridged in communicating with each other,” Reyner said.

The CEO of The Pikes Peak Workforce Center, Traci Marques said it's important to have growth opportunities from employees in trades and blue-collar jobs.

“How do you invest in them? It does not have to be a big pay raise, but maybe there is professional development you can send them to or an online course they can do because this is better job quality and by really looking within to see how you can re-scale your existing workforce,” Marques said.

The Pikes Peak Workforce Center is the region's American Job Center.

“Sometimes I say we are like We help job seekers find jobs and businesses find job seekers,” Marques said.

Marques said when looking for a job it is not all about the education one person has.

“What skills do you have? What transferable skills do you have from your previous job, let's say in construction, how do you take those skills and put them to use in a different job, financial services, hospitality. It's really about transferable skills and skills bases hiring that people need to look at besides your education and background,” Marques said.

Marques said many employers this summer can not find workers.

“Currently there are more job openings than people looking for work. The people who are looking for working are looking for a quality job,” Marques said.

Marques said a quality job is different for each individual. It could be based on wages, insurance, benefits or other elements. She said promoting within helps keep and maintain quality workers for a longer time. A good start is recruiting and having opportunities for younger workers.

The HBA is trying to inspire young people and students to look into a career in trades through a construction education program.

“The Careers in Construction program is all about introducing high school-aged kids to the trades so that they can see an alternative path,” Reyner said.

Reyner said it helps kids find purpose in what they are learning in the classroom because they are able to apply it to a career path in the trades.

Workforce data shows the top five jobs available in El Paso and Teller Counties from 2022-2023, that don’t require a college degree are the following:

  • home health personal care aids
  • restaurant cooks
  • material movers
  • stocker and order fillers
  • fast food workers

These occupations are the fastest growing jobs in the Pikes Peak region over the last year.
According to workforce data in 2021, the average media hourly earning for these jobs is around $14 an hour. According to Reyner, typically an entry level employee makes around $20 or $30 an hour for these types of jobs.

“It's either hourly pay, usually it's much better than you see in service industry, hospitality and retail,” Reyner said.

These jobs provide a path for people who want to work to quickly grow into their careers.

“So you are making money while you're learning versus paying a lot of money for something you might not use,” Reyner said.

Reyner encourages people to reach out to the Housing and Building Association if they are interested in learning about a career in construction.

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