What You Should Know About Hiring Workers From the Class of 2022

What You Should Know About Hiring Workers From the Class of 2022

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As a high school plumbing teacher at a technical school in Burlington County, New Jersey, I would like to provide some insight about the Class of 2022 for the owners and managers of plumbing and drain cleaning companies. These are the people who will be knocking on their door soon looking for employment.

They are a group of resilient, eager, and hardworking individuals who have lived through a deadly pandemic. The fear of COVID-19 wasn’t about them contracting it. It was about the fear of losing a parent, grandparent, or other close relative or friend. Most of my students believe that staying home for a year and a half strengthened their family and made them closer. Some students agree that they have repaired fractured relationships by spending this prolonged time together.

My students have not traveled or taken vacations. They have had to wait longer to get their driver’s licenses and have missed out on many special school memories, sporting events, proms, and homecomings. They were forced to go to school via a laptop computer, usually from their bedroom or kitchen table. They had to learn to navigate a computer, complete forms online, and soon realized that they didn’t need a pen or paper anymore.

When this group begins applying for jobs, they will use the computer to locate a company that is hiring. They will have resumes ready and formatted and will be looking for a company that is tech-savvy. Owners should be prepared to offer a company-supplied phone, tablet, and of course good starting pay. The Class of 2022 wants to be compensated well for performing a job that many people do not want to do anymore.  

These young people will be so valuable to you when it comes to technology. It seems like every new plumbing appliance is now connected to the internet and has an app for customers to communicate with the appliance or fixture. Sump pumps let the customer know if they are working or not, and water heaters allow the user to adjust the temperature from a smartphone.

Sewer cameras that communicate wirelessly also have the ability to link to a cellphone, allowing you to watch from a distance, or even a potential buyer or landlord to watch from another location as the inspection is being performed. Flood-stop devices that measure water flow. Even our hand tools can be tracked if lost, and usage is also displayed so that we know when a tool needs to be replaced. These students will have no problem figuring out the connections, apps, and devices needed to operate these items and explaining the compatibility requirements of all these items. They are self-taught computer whizzes. They are able to download, upload, air drop, quick share, snap, go to the cloud, and get cookies they don’t eat.

Social media for the class of 2022 consists of Instagram, TikTok, and Snap Chat. If you think you’re going to check an applicant’s Facebook page before making a hire, don’t bother. These students think Facebook is dead and not cool at all. They know the ins and outs of certain sites and may even have more than one account on any given platform.

They are looking for a company that can provide technical training because technology is a part of their being. Not only training for the first 90 days but continual training with hands-on applications. Our classroom is divided into two sections. In the first section, we have chairs, desks, a projector and a white board. Students use their Chromebooks to answer problems and participate in classroom discussion. There’s nothing really special about the first section, but where things really come alive is when we move to the hands-on part of the classroom. Here we have working fixtures that have running water, and toilets with flushometers that actually flush. We have tankless water heaters and the good, old reliable 40-gallon short. These students excel and do their best work when they are actually touching the fixtures, making repairs, or changing them out. They are eager to learn more and increase their worth and prefer in-person learning over computer instruction. 

Employers should be prepared to provide a paid vacation, because, as previously mentioned, the Class of 2022 is family oriented and will be using their vacation time. They are adventurous and are looking for outdoor things to do. Travel, family time and adventure were highest on my graduating seniors’ future goals list.

Hiring a graduate of the Class of 2022 will be a smart move for a company looking for an individual who knows technology and can also turn a wrench. They are ready and eager to work in an industry that will grow by 14% in the next five years. We are an industry that will not be replaced by robots. We were essential workers during the pandemic, and we are getting older. Hiring a young and talented individual from the Class of 2022 will increase your profits and help your company grow.

About the Author

Scot Barsony is a plumbing instructor at the Burlington County Institute of Technology.


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