'They want somebody yesterday': Employers are desperate for workers in these fields

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FALL RIVER — Looking for a job? You’re in luck, with experts saying that the current job market offers historic levels of open positions across a wide swath of industries.

“It’s the first time when the leverage is really in employees’ hands,” said Kevin Lazaro, Director of Cooperative Education at Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School. “I’ve seen a lot of changes, but I’ve never seen such a boon of job opportunities across a multitude of industries.”

In the culinary industry, which was hit hard early in the pandemic and is now rebounding, Lazaro said it’s “astronomical in terms of the number of jobs they’re looking for.”

The construction industry is also seeing a massive amount of job openings, in part because of a surge in new construction projects as a result of recent low interest rates, he said. The current dearth of cars available for sale is driven in part by a lack of skilled workers who can keep up with demand; automotive technology is also seeing a high demand for workers.

“There’s a direct correlation between the economy and what’s happening with our kids,” he said. “For every student who wants a job, we have a co-op for them.”

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Electrical, plumbing and carpentry

Jobs in fields like electrical work, carpentry, plumbing and working with HVAC systems are plentiful.

When talking to employers, “You hear the urgency in their voice.” Lazaro said. “They want somebody yesterday.”

Diman students are also seeing big success finding jobs in advanced manufacturing, where computer numerical control (CNC) machinists, workers who operate computerized factory tools and machinery, are in high demand, and in the health care field, where they desperately need more workers like certified nursing assistants and medical assistants, Lazaro said.

April Lynch, Chief Strategy Implementation Officer at Bristol Community College, said students there are also finding lots of jobs available in the health care and health sciences industry, in large part because of the pandemic. Recent Bristol graduates who studied health topics are consistently finding jobs directly out of school, working as things like nurses, CNAs, and veterinary technicians, she said. Students are also entering fields like biology, biotechnology, lab science and mental health care.

"You just can’t turn health care professionals out fast enough," Lynch said.

Pandemic spurs supply chain jobs

About two years ago, the school also began offering a certificate in project management, preparing students to be project managers in a broad array of fields including health care, finance and construction.

“Our students are having a lot of luck with that,” Lynch said.

Bristol is also increasing its orientation to the wind energy industry, with several wind energy projects planned for the region that will bring hundreds of jobs.

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The pandemic has snarled global supply chains, leading to an increased need for supply chain managers who can help companies navigate the situation.

This year, the college launched a new certification program to train students in supply chain management to help meet that need.

“A lot of the companies (in Southeastern Massachusetts) are small companies… but most of these companies are getting their products from global vendors,” Lynch said.

And as the pandemic created tough times for small, local businesses, many have turned to tools that could help them gain an edge on their completion, like looking deeply at consumer data and social media marketing to help them better understand customer needs. This has led to a rush of new hiring in those positions, Lynch said, with market researchers and analysts in high demand.

“Even small and medium companies in the area are looking at data analytics and social media marketing," she said. “Given what’s going on I think people, especially small- to medium-sized businesses, are feeling the squeeze. The market is really competitive."

Lynch and Lazaro agree: it's a good time to be looking for a job.

“We’re seeing a lot of movement in the job market right now," Lynch said.

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Audrey Cooney can be reached at acooney@heraldnews.com. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Herald News today.

This article originally appeared on The Herald News: Job market seeing historic levels of open positions