Today’s pool and spa service professionals are in a bind: Business is more brisk than ever, but good luck finding enough qualified workers to meet the demand.
In fact, 62% of all pool and spa pros named finding qualified employees as their no. 2 concern, after only availability of products/supplies, on the most recent PHTA Quarterly Pulse Survey.
And that’s just a snapshot of what’s happening nationwide. “Today, there are more than 7.2 million job openings that cannot be filled due to the growing skills gap that exists in the workforce,” said Seth Ewing, PHTA’s senior director of member programs and services. “Many of these vacancies remain unfilled because job creators cannot find the best the industry has to offer.”
That’s why PHTA has launched a new apprenticeship program aimed at helping pool and spa service pros grow new employees right in their own business.
The new PHTA Registered Pool Maintenance and Service Technician Apprenticeship Program is a nationwide program, registered with the U.S. Department of Labor, allowing the pool and spa profession to be more competitive with other industries that are also struggling for entry-level talent. And, because the PHTA apprenticeship program uses industry-developed competency and ANSI-approved standards developed by PHTA, employers and apprentices are assured that the program delivers the content needed to develop qualified service professionals.
By combining paid on-the-job training with classroom instruction, apprentices receive a skills-based education that prepares them for good-paying jobs – and helps you recruit, build, and retain a highly skilled workforce.
Additionally, as an apprenticed occupation, we are now considered a skilled trade, which opens all kinds of doors with high school guidance counselors, veterans, and community workforce boards.
Ewing adds: “… Career seekers can gain relevant sills in an industry that is seeing historic growth. The PHTA education and training was developed by service professionals for the service industry. Backed by the industry’s leading professionals, apprentices will receive the best the industry as to offer.”
The new apprenticeship program is endorsed by PHTA and registered with the Department of Labor. “Our program is unique in that our education and training is backed by our ANSI standards and the International Swimming Pool and Spa Code and our certification programs. It combines online and field education.”
Business owners have many reasons to take advantage of apprenticeship programs, according to the DOL the programs:
- Improve profitability and positive impact to your bottom line
- Minimize cost with reduced turnover and liability
- Create flexible training options that ensure workers develop the right skills
- Foster a diverse and inclusive culture.
Additionally DOL says:
- 94% of apprentices continue employment after completing an apprenticeship
- Each dollar a company spends on apprenticeship earns them a $1.50 ROI (return on investment).
- Veterans often seek careers in apprenticed industries as a second career.
- 97% of businesses with apprenticeships would recommend them to others.
- Several states offer tax credits to companies with apprentices.
- Some states require companies have apprentices to bid on municipal projects.
- Many companies secure state workforce funding to support apprenticeship programs.
The Pool Maintenance and Service Technician Apprenticeship Program provides employers with an educational pathway to lead apprentices through 2,000 hours of on-the-job training, as well as a self-study program that offers more than 144 additional hours of online classroom-style instruction, according to PHTA, which offers a complete overview of the program and associated costs. The overall cost of the program is $3,074 per apprentice for non PHTA members and $1,799 for members.
The main cost is an on-demand training program that includes the following:
- Pool Operator Primer
- Pool Chemistry Certification
- Start-Up Technician Course and Certification
- Indoor Pool Air Quality
- Recreational Water Illness
- Discrimination-Free Workplace
- Sexual Harassment for Employees
- Personal Protective Equipment
- First Aid and Safety
- PHTA Certified Maintenance Specialist (CMS) Course
- Fundamentals of Hazardous Materials
- Hazardous Waste Management
- World Aquatic Health Conference Education
- Confined Spaces
- International Swimming Pool & Spa Code Training
- PHTA Certified Service Technician Course (CST)
- Heat Stress of Combustible Liquids
- Aquatic Play Feature
“Through this apprenticeship program, we are providing our members with the tools they need to train, mentor, and educate new employees, which will result in improving the quality of the workforce and increasing consumer awareness of the pool industry’s professionalism,” Ewing said.