LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Investors expect a recession to hit next year and tech companies have already announced sweeping layoffs. But there are certain careers almost immune to economic downturns.

There seems to always be a demand for skilled blue-collar workers.

“Our classes are packed out right now,” said Derek Nesmith, the campus director of National Technical Institute, or NTI, in Henderson. 

He’s hiring additional instructors to accommodate the growing demand of people who want to sign up for electric, H-VAC, and plumbing, the three skilled trade programs being offered.

“People are coming to us, in this day and age, they are uncertain about the apparent recession that may be upon us,” Nesmith said.

Nationwide, skilled trade programs, including construction and automotive repair, boomed after college enrollment dropped during the pandemic.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, enrollment in vocational and trade schools has seen record growth over the past two decades with the trend expected to continue.

Co-editor Christopher Sinacola said vocational schools were once dismissed as where “other” kids go, kids that are not academically advanced. He said, that’s changed, and now they are the schools of choice.

In fact, demand is so strong for these skilled blue-collar workers that economists expect tradespeople will have no trouble finding work for years to come.

This is a booming time for them, both electrical and plumbing contractors are constantly reaching out to me, for year-round career services placement of our graduates,” Nesmith said.

He adds people looking to the future, with no advancement options at their current jobs, have also enrolled at NTI.