Gainesville, FL (AP) For many of the country’s most skilled locksmiths, making a good living in the locksmith industry is a dream job.
But for a small number of people, that dream job is becoming more difficult as companies try to keep pace with advances in technology.
A growing number of locksmith jobs are being outsourced to people with less than a high school diploma, leaving many job applicants in a bind, a shortage of locks in homes and businesses and a rising demand for locksmith services.
“They’ve been told to do something different, but they can’t make their own decisions,” said Michael Schmitt, president of the National Association of Lockmiths.
Some states, like Ohio, require locksmith apprenticeships.
Other states have enacted new rules, like in Florida, that require locks to be cleaned after being sold.
And some states, including Virginia, have enacted more stringent requirements for apprentices.
In Gainesville last year, a lock shop owner said the city was making it more difficult to recruit locksmith employees.
The Gainesville-based company LockTech is looking for people to make the transition to its new, high-tech locksmith training program.
It will pay the people less than $50,000 and train them in new technology to do the jobs once done by hand, said Jason Dank, vice president of business development for LockTech.
LockTech is one of many companies that is seeking to increase its workforce.
A year ago, it hired 5,500 people.
“We’re not going to let anybody walk away with a piece of paper,” said Dank.
LockTech employs about 300 people, Dank said, and is hoping to fill that role in the coming years.
It will be up to people like Chris Miller to keep the company alive in the tough market for locks, said Miller, the Gainesville locksmith apprentice.
“I’m excited to be a part of something that’s bringing new life into the city,” Miller said.
“I think the people are excited to work here.”
It’s not the first time LockTech has looked for people with fewer than a diploma to help its workforce transition to the next generation.
Last year, LockTech hired more than 200 people, most of them students who took classes to get their diplomas.
The company recently had a hard time recruiting a locksmith for a factory job that required a lockscreen and a touch screen.
Miller said he was told that hiring a locksmoker would take more than two months.