Texas winter storm shows need for plumbers and there's a way to get in on the industry

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Last month's winter storm showed how in demand plumbers are and there's a way you can get in on the industry and get paid while doing it.

The Houston Public Works department said a quarter of all neighbors had pipe damage during the freeze, and there's still an issue with fixing people's pipes.

"Please be patient," said Johnathon Alsobrooks, the owner of Southern Style Plumbing. "We're trying to get to everybody as quick as possible."

Alsobrooks is one of many plumbers in the Houston-area trying to help, but he admits it's not easy.

READ ALSO: Plumbers receive record amount of service calls for broken pipes

"It's been very daunting to take on," he said. "It's been burdensome, but it's been pleasing to be able to help Houston."

It's not only local plumbers helping out, out-of-state companies are here too. The Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners told ABC13 on Wednesday that 40 out-of-state companies have received temporary licenses to help Texans.

READ MORE: Gov. Greg Abbott says Texas is working to bring in more plumbers, help cities test their water

However, there's a need for more, and there's one way to get them, much like Alsobrooks' journey.

"The training that I was able to get, and then be able to start my business, is so much better than having college debt," he recalled.

Alsobrooks is a graduate of Plumbers Local Union 68's apprentice program.

In six years, you can go from a student to an owner and starting out by making more than $20 an hour during your first year of school.

"Whatever happened in the past, especially in high school, [if] you were a C, D, [or] F student, that doesn't matter," said Chato Woodard, a spokesperson for Plumbers Local Union 68. "That does not matter here. This is the time to start over."

The union is looking for more students starting next month. If the historic winter freeze taught us anything, it's that plumbing is a hot industry, and it means so much to those who get theirhomes fixed.

To learn more about the program, visit the Plumbers Local Union 68 training center's website.

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