SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — As the temperatures continue to drop and pipes begin to freeze, Siouxland residents may find it hard to get a plumber to their house in an emergency, due to an ongoing shortage in that field.

Many trade professions are seeing a shortage of applicants, but a Siouxland college is hoping to train the next generation of plumbers.

“We usually run about two weeks most of the year,” said Nate Foulk, president of Foulk Bros. Plumbing & Heating.

Due to the ongoing shortage of professional plumbers in Sioux City, some residents may be waiting longer than normal for a professional to arrive. KCAU 9 reached out to other plumbing services in the area. However, they didn’t have any plumbers available to talk.

Foulk said while other plumbing businesses may not have enough workers, they do at the moment. 

“There’s days where we could always use a few more this time of year. We’re staying steady, have enough work for everybody. We probably don’t need any more people, but that will always change come springtime,” said Foulk.

Over the past few years, Western Iowa Tech Community College’s (WITCC) plumbing program has seen an increase of students.

“We’ll start off with probably close to a dozen, maybe a little bit more. You know, about this time of year we start to get them down to about, we’re right about 7 of them right now,” said Josh Elgert, plumbing instructor for WITCC.

To help prepare students for their chosen profession, Elgert has the students do projects like making operational bathrooms and using equipment used on a job site.

“We’ve got two semesters, that’s one year, we do the basics all the way from gluing PVC, threading iron pipe, soldering copper pipe. We go through all the new tools, everything that’s kinda current in the field of plumbing,” said Elgert.

Jose Sanchez is a plumbing student at WITCC. He said before going to college he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do.

“I just kinda always wanted to get into trades, always tried them out throughout high school and none of them really for me, so then I figured I’d give plumbing a shot. It’s probably one of the less desirable trades so I figured I’d be one of the few people going into it,” said Sanchez.

With fewer people in the business, Sanchez figured it was the best time to try out the field. Once he started, he said he instantly fell in love with the variety of jobs for plumbers.

“There’s just so much variety in the stuff you can do. You know, you could do underground, you could do residential, you could do commercial. There’s like millions, not millions obviously, but there’s a ton of different fixtures to install,” said Sanchez.

WITCC’s plumbing program is a two-semester track, and students can go into the profession after completing the program.