Painting the future

Painting the future

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Pima County, the city of Tucson and Sherwin Williams have teamed up to hold a week long painting class in hopes of finding a few people who may want to take up painting as a trade.

The trades have had a difficult time finding qualified workers since the work force base was decimated during the 2008 Great Recession.

While the trades industry has bounced back, the workforce has been slow to redevelop.

“It’s very hard to find employees,” said Toni Gauna, the Director of Operations for Perfection Industrial Finishing. “They definitely are hard to find.”

Perfection Industrial is an award winning industrial painting and coating company on Tucson’s Southside, which has also expanded to Phoenix.

It has several finishing contracts with military and aerospace companies.

That means many of its workers need to be skilled tradespeople with knowledge in computers, design and have the ability to make sense of task data sheets.

While the end result may be painting or coating, the skills have moved far beyond “your mother’s” paint.

“Every product has a task data sheet which tells you what’s supposed to be mixed in it, what the thickness should be, how it should be cured, what the induction time is,” she said. “It’s hard to find employees that can understand mill standards.”

That’s why the week long painting workshop becomes a valuable tool.

“A lot of people in this class today weren’t aware there’s training like this,” said Daniel Howe, Director of Pima County Business Services.

Howe says they come from all over Arizona and are popular. So much so, the county will double the number of workshops from twice a year to four times a year.

“I had 12 people in my last class,” he said. “Six of them got employment in the painting industry.

There’s two days of classroom instruction and two days of hands on experience. The group will be painting the Tucson House Wednesday and Thursday.

At the end on Friday there will be a graduation and certificate of completion and maybe a job.

Potential employers have been invited to the graduation.

It’s just a way to close the gap in the trades, which can be a lucrative career which may or may not include college.

“Show up, work hard everyday and learn and you can be very successful here,” Gauna said.

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