Re: Bond vote, Aug. 20
As the vote approaches on the bond initiative to fund renovation and expansion of the Sheridan College Tech Center, I want to share some perspective on the need for skilled workers in the trades served by the Tech Center programs.
L&H Industrial has a long-term relationship with Sheridan College; in fact, it’s one of our favorite schools to hire from. Finding skilled tradespeople with a great work ethic — just the kind of graduates Sheridan College develops — has become one of the most difficult challenges for all manufacturing and repair facilities. We hire from Sheridan College for five L&H locations, including Sheridan and Gillette.
Sheridan College has been helping to supply our talent, but due to the limited capacity for producing graduates, we also have to network with many other trade schools in Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Idaho, Nevada and Arizona. Even with all that constant effort, we come up short of meeting our demand for qualified tradespeople each year.
That demand is continuing to grow. One has only to look at the average pay for tradespeople, which is well beyond many degreed professions, including engineers, business graduates, nurses, etc. Welders, machinists, and mechanics are earning wages and full benefits well over average income statistics — in many cases, double the average.
L&H specifically has grown at an average rate of 18 percent over the last 20 years. There is growing demand for tradespeople to keep abreast of that growth. L&H designs, manufactures and distributes mechanical spare components for the global surface mining industry. Fifty percent of our sales are international exports and another 20 percent are sold outside Wyoming. This creates long-term, stable jobs in Wyoming.
L&H is a strong supporter of Sheridan College and of its technical education programs. We have an aggressive, growing demand for tradespeople, and we prefer to hire them from Sheridan College.
Thank you to the citizens of Sheridan County and the staff at Sheridan College — I appreciate everything you have done and look forward to our future together.
President, L&H Industrial