Clayton County

Clayton County leaders using VR to train skilled tradespeople

CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — You might not need an electrician, plumber or roofer every day, but if a trend of shortages continues, they could become hard to find when you need one.

Dari Payrow, the president of local HVAC, electric and plumbing company RS Andrews, says that in the next five years, it could become extremely difficult to find a skilled trade worker.

“It’s a massive issue that’s coming to a head,” Payrow told Channel 2 investigative reporter Ashli Lincoln. “If things don’t change quickly, you’re going to have almost half the work force over the next five or ten years be gone.”

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The trade industry is hemorrhaging workers as many seasoned employees retire, and younger generations aren’t finding these types of jobs appealing, leaving shortages in companies.

“You don’t have that many people coming into the workforce,” Payrow explained. “We’ve been working to get the staffing back to where it’s at.”

Roslind Litt, Director of the Clayton County Library System, says she first recognized these issues after many people were laid off during the pandemic and began looking for work.

She says that many people can’t afford to go to trade school to learn these skills, so they’re developing a way to make them easier to get.

“The more they know about it and the more they know they can get these skills and they don’t have to pay for them, that is a big part of it,” Litt explained.

Litt received a grant from the federal government that has allowed her to start virtual reality trade classes.

“We can offer them free educational opportunities that they can’t get anywhere else,” she said.


Clayton County officials say that along with this program being free, students can use the credits toward trade school enrollment.

County workers say the need for this program is evident by the program filled up in a matter of hours.

“Within 24 hours, we were at half capacity. Within 48 hours, we were at full capacity, and at 72 hours we were at half capacity for our wait list,” Marquita Gooch-Voyd with the Clayton County Library said.

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Lincoln found that, according to industrial staffing agency People Ready, the most in-demand skilled trade jobs are remaining unfulfilled longer than they ever have in history.


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