With retiring baby boomers and a slowly recovering economy, the demand for skilled workers – such as mechanics, pipe fitters and commercial truckers – is on the rise. But companies in Texas are facing a shortage of these skilled laborers. Part of the problem is that workers simply do not have the vocational training to fill these well-paying positions. Another problem is that otherwise acceptable job appli-cants cannot pass mandatory drug tests.
In his address to this year’s annual Texas Workforce Commission conference, TWC Chairman Tom Pauken recounted a story about a Texas job fair at which a company pre-approved more than 100 commercial trucker applicants, but had to turn away more than half for failing federally mandated drug tests.
While the rise of medical marijuana may send a mixed message about drug use, people have to understand that if they are going to work with dangerous machinery, they have to be at the top of their game. Lingering effects of drug use can pose a harm not only to machine operators’ physical safety, but to their employability as well.