PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Whether you've had to wait to repair air conditioning or had difficulty finding a plumber, one unfortunate side effect of the pandemic has been a shortage of trade workers. But there's also been a shortage of instructors for these trade workers. "I just need some help," National Technical Institute HVAC teacher Mark Williams said.

"We've actually had to cancel a plumbing class because we don't have an extra instructor," NTI chief operating officer David Lee added. At NTI in Phoenix, hiring a headhunter to fill the instructor opening just wasn't working. "When you do that, you're going to pay somebody to bring somebody to the table," Lee said.

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But the quantity and quality of those brought to the table ended up being pretty underwhelming. "It's difficult a lot of times to be able to get an experienced tradesman or woman to be able to take what's in their head and give it to somebody who's brand new," Lee said.

So Lee is hoping the school's latest incentive, a potential $10,000 signing bonus, will lead to a bigger and better wave of applicants. "We're going to have to pay somebody," Lee said. "Why not pay the instructor some of that incentive?

For any potential applicants that think $10,000 sounds nice, be advised that you only will get that much if you're the most qualified full-time applicant. But just by choosing to be a teacher at all, you're going to get at least some kind of money. The more experience you've had both professionally and educationally, the more money you'll get.

As someone who joined NTI back in 2019, Williams, unfortunately, didn't get this type of signing bonus. But you won't find him complaining about not getting any of that extra cash. "Right now, I'm pretty much the one-man show," Williams said. "And they say I've pretty much maxed out with the amount of hours I've put in. If they want to add more people, we need more instructors. So I love it."

Mark Williams

"I just need some help," National Technical Institute HVAC teacher Mark Williams said.

NTI just started plumbing and electrical programs in the last year to go along with its established HVAC training. All three fields need more full-time and part-time instructors. "What we're hoping is to not only get the right people now but also to be able to build a bench," Lee said. "We want to grow, and we want to expand."

And NTI wants to do so quickly. They're planning on filling these open positions within the next three months.


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