Sponsored: A Message from the Young Gassers to the 2017 Rising Leaders

February 13, 2017 By    

jim-renaldo-young-gassers-headshotI can speak for our entire board of directors and membership when I say we are so pleased to see LP Gas magazine take an interest in these young men and women, the Rising Leaders of our industry. Congratulations to those of you featured in this wonderful series of biographies, and most of all thank you for choosing one of the best industries in the world (propane) to apply your time and talents. We’re fortunate to count you among the tens of thousands of young (and not so young) men and women in the trenches, managing the day-to-day customer service grind that has been the backbone of our industry for over 100 years. It truly is a team effort.

Keeping the team together as the veterans of our industry approach retirement is becoming a challenge, however. From my vantage point as president of the Young Gassers for the past eight years and as a member for the last 18, I feel obliged to point out that we are not seeing as many young men and women coming into the skilled-trade side of the industry as we have in the past. I’m not trying to minimize the importance of a four-year college education, but as this industry matures the need for qualified service and installation technicians, truck drivers, pipe fitters, welders, plumbers and mechanics, along with a whole host of customer service and back-office related jobs, is greater than ever. The four-year bachelor’s degree is not necessarily what is needed in all situations, especially since (and this is just an educated guess) maybe 80 percent of our workforce is what I would consider to be good-paying, blue-collar positions that require nothing more than a two-year associate’s degree or good on-the-job training. The industry, in general, does a good job with our training programs. However, the problem now is finding qualified applicants in whom we are willing to invest for these programs.

Memo to the Rising Leaders: As an industry, we need to make a concerted effort to address the inevitable shortage of skilled labor. How would you suggest we do that?

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