DALLAS – Construction is booming across Texas. The only thing slowing some projects down, right now, is developers having challenges finding enough help.

Now, a new program is giving people the skills they need to fill those jobs – and change their lives.

As more than 700 contractors invade a northwest Dallas neighborhood to replace a natural gas distribution system, Atmos Energy says it’s working hard to connect licensed plumbers with homeowners to get the jobs done.

"It's not surprising,” said Jarie Bradley. “It's a trend that we've seen over the past five to 10 years."

Bradley is the Chief People Officer at CitySquare. She and her team know the construction industry across Dallas-Fort Worth is having its fair share of challenges.

"Employers are starting to feel the pain when they lack the talent to fill these jobs," Bradley said.

Jarie Bradley
Jarie Bradley

That is why City Square is working to address that need. The agency is hosting special training classes through its WorkPaths Program, which gives qualified community members free access to accelerated courses for careers in construction.

Moniquka Hanson is a student attending the current training sessions. She said she’s diving deep into hands-on courses, including construction 101, basic training, how to use power tools, and electrical engineering.

Hanson said she is trading in customer service jobs for electrical jobs in the environmental sector.

"It's such in high demand right now,” Hanson said. “This program is helping more qualified individuals in our community to get the job done."

Students going through the seven-week WorkPaths courses come from all backgrounds. They get hands-on training with professionals.

Trainee Curtis Sanders said he’s learning a lot in the classes. He said he’s picked up skills: "OSHA, how to run conduit, how to run wire, three-way switch, four-way switch,” to name a few.

Upon completion of the accelerated courses, each candidate gains certifications in areas like electrical and welding.


CitySquare is currently partnering with the nonprofit For Oak Cliff. They are recruiting candidates for the next WorkPath training series, which starts in April.

"It's not just job training,” Bradley said. “We're training for careers."

CitySquare and For Oak Cliff will be signing up community members for the WorkPaths program during a community event at Cumming Recreation Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 17.

For additional information, or to apply for the WorkPaths Program, you can visit CitySquare or contact Krystal Renee with For Oak Cliff at 214-535-6137, or Krystal.hills@foroakcliff.org.