Trade schools provide a fast track to success with lucrative career options and affordable tuition

In a time when college students across the nation face astronomical tuition rates/debt as well as an increasingly competitive job market, a trade school education can offer a faster, more targeted and more affordable path to career success for the right student. 

“Some people tend to overlook trade schools when they’re looking to start a new career, and that’s a shame because they offer a lot of advantages,” says Thomas Eastwick, president of 45-year-old Eastwick College, which offers specialized degrees in 25 fields at campuses in Ramsey, Hackensack, Nutley and Paterson. Among the benefits of a trade school education, “the programs are generally more affordable and take a lot less time to complete, enabling a graduate to start earning a strong salary a lot sooner and with less student loans to pay off,” Eastwick said. “In addition to offering excellent job security and plenty of room for advancement, trade careers can also be much more rewarding for someone who’s more hands-on.” 

Trade schools can also provide targeted education in high-demand fields. Specifically, “there’s a skills gap in the U.S. and, prior to the recent pandemic, we had more job orders from employers than we had graduates,” said Scott Shaw, president and CEO of Lincoln Educational Services Corp. (Lincoln Tech), which has New Jersey locations in Iselin, Mahwah, Moorestown, Paramus, South Plainfield and Union, and offers degrees in the automotive, skilled trades, health sciences and IT tracks. According to Shaw, “95% of the students at Lincoln Tech in New Jersey are enrolled in programs deemed as ‘critical/essential jobs’ by the Department of Homeland Security, which enabled many of these individuals to remain employed throughout the pandemic.” 

“As manufacturing begins to return to the U.S. — a trend expected to increase as a result of COVID-19’s impact — there will likely be an even greater demand for these types of employees,” Eastwick added. “Our goal is to help prepare our students for these and other trade career opportunities.” 

Students train in HVAC systems at one of Lincoln Tech’s campuses in New Jersey. Photo courtesy of Lincoln Technical Institute

Experts confirm that a trade school education offers other benefits as well. Among them, “our programs are accelerated so that students can complete their education sooner and enter the workforce more quickly, usually in under 13 months,” Shaw said. “Our faculty come from industry and share real-world skills with our students, which boosts their engagement with the course material and drives higher graduation rates than at community colleges and with much less debt incurrence when compared to bachelor’s degree programs.” 

With two convenient locations in East Orange and Jersey City, “National Career Institute (NCI) offers a range of courses that meet every individual’s needs, whether you’re starting a new career in the medical and trade fields or advancing your current career with additional national certifications that you can take with you nationwide,” said Dr. George P. Blount, president/CAO of NCI. With programs ranging from three to nine months and financial aid available for those who qualify, “NCI offers flexible day and evening class schedules and a career pathways program where you can earn your high school diploma and your trade certification at the same time,” Dr. Blount said. 

A student at National Career Institute trains in the electrical department lab at the school’s East Orange campus. Photo courtesy of NCI

The ‘Right’ Candidate 

In terms of the optimal candidate, “our students come from a variety of backgrounds, but they all share a drive to better themselves,” Eastwick said. “If you have a desire to work with your hands, a trade school track could be for you.” 

Shaw agreed. “Many students can’t see themselves working inside, in a cubicle, staring at a computer all day — they prefer to be outdoors or in a less-confining work environment,” he said. “Trade school graduates have high job satisfaction because they’re doing something they enjoy and are passionate about. They enjoy fixing, building or improving things with their hands or helping others.” 

Among the myths experts hope to dispel is that a college degree is the only way to achieve a rewarding, long-term career. “The conventional wisdom has been that you need to attend a traditional four-year college or university to get started in a high-value career, but that’s not the case,” Eastwick said of trade careers that can boast impressive salary potential and prepare graduates for management positions or business ownership. 

Ultimately, “our mission is to prepare students to meet the challenges of the rapidly changing employment landscape by offering skills, training and employment opportunities necessary to compete in today’s marketplace,” Dr. Blount said. “At NCI, our saying is that “a year from now, you’ll wish you’d started today.” 

For more information on Eastwick College, visit www.eastwick.edu. For more information on Lincoln Tech, visit www.lincolntech.edu. For more information on National Career Institute, visit www.nciedu.com

Here's Why You Should Encourage Your Kid to Go Into the Trades

Skilled trade positions are currently the hardest to fill in the United States and around the world.

The trades are definitely a solid path for anyone looking for a secure and profitable career. According to a survey conducted by ManpowerGroup, trade positions are currently the hardest to fill in the United States and around the world. Specifically, the top ten positions with the largest shortages include carpenters, framers, bricklayers/masons, concrete workers, drywallers, roofers, electricians, plumbers, painters, and excavators.

Younger people aren't pursuing careers in the trades

According to Jennifer Weber, EVP of human resources for Lowe's, the home improvement retailer conducted a survey which found that only 5% of parents in the U.S. expect their high school-aged students to pursue a career in the skilled trades. She also points out that the number of people showing an interest in a skilled trade is dwindling as more high schools have pulled back on offering construction-based shop classes. At the same time, 3 million skilled trades positions are predicted to be open by 2028.

The trades have a lot to offer

Consider a variety of opportunities, getting to work with your hands, high demand, good salaries, benefits and job security. That's according to Robin Fleming, cofounder and CEO of Anvl, a workforce first safety solutions software company, who says that because of the growing skilled labor shortage companies needing workers are motivated to recruit, train and retain workers and are offering competitive perks, benefits and salaries to fill positions. And because hands-on training often happens on the job, young people can quickly figure out if a path is a good fit and adjust if it's not. That's compared with investing four years into college to get a desk job which they may or may not like.

Jobs and training programs are easy to find

Weber says young people can learn on the job straight out of high school, or get some kind of formal training or certification before trying to get hired. For its employees Lowe's offers a "Track to the Trades" program which pays for tuition as they complete a pre-apprentice certification in carpentry, HVAC, electrical, plumbing and appliance repair. Once certified, Lowe's then helps them get jobs within its installation network.

In addition, Lowe's and more than 60 national partners launched a "Generation T" program earlier this year which aims to connect high schoolers and people wanting a career change with opportunities in the trades. At WeAreGenerationT.com anyone considering the trades can get information about what the work in a particular field involves, what the earning potential is and input a ZIP code to find nearby jobs and training programs.

Fleming adds that several U.S. legislatures are actively working to address the skilled trade labor shortage with a number of bills which were introduced in 2019.

Aligning Personal Purpose With Your Work

Brittany Bainum, founder of Tradeworthy Jobs, talks with NAWIC Today about her 15 years working in the construction industry, serving in several HR leadership roles, and how she is mindfully and intentionally breathing personal purpose into her career.

There’s a quote - “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” When you talk about aligning personal purpose with your work, where does the intersection of “work” meet with “passion and personal purpose?”

Finding your passion and personal purpose certainly doesn't happen overnight. For me, it took more than two and a half years to truly determine my purpose. In short, I’ve identified my purpose as “to lead with joy and hope by serving first. I do so with honest love, responsible leadership, and championing growth.” What I pieced together was that I show up so that other women will show up. 

Your purpose can be simple to start and evolve over time as you do. Your first thought could simply to be a good mom or dad. That's purpose enough in my book! Then when things get nutty and feel like they are falling off track, you can recenter and point back to your original purpose. Next thing you know you’re pointing in the right direction again. If I'm taking care of my child the best I can, then I'm living my purpose. Your purpose could also be to be a strong office manager or production manager - to bring order to others' day. Move on that and I bet you'll find your day feeling and looking better than the one before - because now you're showing up with purpose and intention - and that's the magic behind the magician. 

When identifying your purpose it sounds like you need to be patient and have grace with yourself - which isn’t always easy to do. How do you give yourself the space to mindfully determine your purpose?

I recall when another mom colleague that I had worked with left the workforce. For some reason it was really hard for me to swallow. It had nothing to do with me, but all of a sudden I started to question my own efforts: Should I be working? Am I doing the right thing? She's probably leaving because it's the right thing. Am I good enough mom? And so on... Fast forward to my personal development with a coach, and today I'm 100% confident in the choices I make around working and having three kids. Do I need flexibility? Sure. Might it take me a minute to get unfrazzled from the doctor’s appointment, coffee run, and losing my keys because one of the kids left them in a planted pot? 100% But what I've found is that oftentimes, my superpower is that when I look around a meeting room with my peers in this industry,, not fitting the mold is actually the power in itself.  Being an outlier is not a bad thing. I bring a perspective, an angle, a thought that often many of my male counterparts don't have. So my purpose is around showing up and my passion is that you (as a female) will have the confidence to do so as well. 

Ensuring it’s authentic, where do you truly start? How does one breathe personal purpose into their daily work in a meaningful and not forced way?

As I learned from my work with Positive Foundry, an organization dedicated to teaching skills such as identifying your purpose, it starts with your strengths. List them, say them, know them. Need to discover them? Use a tool like VIA Strengths (Values in Action) as a starting point. But know what strengths you bring to the table. Questions to help you unfold them could be:

- How do you know this is your strength?

- How do you action this strength regularly?

- How do you use this strength in challenging times?

- What other possibilities does this strength bring you?

- Who else do you know with this strength? (either someone you know or someone famous)

Once you’ve identified your strengths, how do you continue to move the needle to identify your purpose?

There are a few steps that help you determine your purpose and will help you arrive at your purpose statement. The beauty of a purpose statement is that it’s one line, one action, one intent that only belongs to you. You can adjust it as you grow and evolve in your life and career - and it’s also your “guiding light” - whenever you need it, you can always find it as a reminder of who you are on this  journey and where you want to go. Again thanks to Positive Foundry, the actions are:

Know what defines you

To move forward you need to be in the right mindset - so think of a time when you were at your best. Close your eyes and think back. What were you doing? Who were you with? What was happening around you? And in the end, how did you feel? Who are YOU at your BEST? 

List your values

Start by asking yourself: “What are my values?” What did you learn from your parents, siblings, family? What are your cultural values? 

List of strengths

Next, go back to your strengths. List them out. What are you good at? What do others say you are good at? Why are you good at them? What gives you energy? 

List your passions

What are your passions? What are four activities that you enjoy? What do you really like to do? What did you really enjoy as a child? These are likely words that end in -ing. 

List your labels

Next are your labels. What are all the labels you've been given? Mother, teacher, runner, reader, etc. What things do you love to do? What activities give you energy? 

List your goals and achievements

What are your goals? What do you truly want to achieve? What do you want to achieve in this lifetime? What do you want to accomplish? Is it raising children, starting your own business, changing lives? 

Determine your legacy

Finally, what is your legacy? What does the world need? How do you want to make an impact on the world? What would need to happen in your life so you could say your life was 'well lived'?

It’s also important to note that as you work your way through these steps, you should continually be asking the question WHY. Why do you want to define your purpose? 

Once these attributes have been identified, how do we bring it full circle? 

We can find our purpose at the intersection of love, skill, and need. When we love what we do, when we know what we are good at doing, and identify what the world needs, there sits our purpose. Reflect on all the writing from above and then build a purpose statement. Why are you here? How can you impact the world? Nothing you write here can be wrong! It's a starting point and your purpose statement can evolve as much as you do!

It’s so easy to get caught in the grind...you go through the motions of work. How do you keep things fresh and continue to pump purpose into what you do? How do you adapt when things get stale?

I think the benefit of defining and knowing your purpose actually comes back up/proves its value is when things get tough. When the situation is too hard, or the feelings become overwhelming and all you want to do is throw in the towel - recalling and reflecting on your purpose is actually going to help you build the resilience to keep going. When you say, I can't do this anymore - your purpose says, here’s why you can. The number of times that shame has whispered to me, 'you're not good enough. you don't know enough' is uncountable and I think it's sometimes even easier to feel that way in an industry where women represent less than 1% while the national average hovers around 50%. So it's less a question of staleness and maybe more around, when will you really harness the power of your purpose?

You bring up a good point -- women need to continue to support each other in this industry. Our industry can be raw and real,  yet also so incredibly rewarding. How did you get your start in the construction business?

Construction is truly all I know. It’s in my genes. My dad owned a contracting company that specialized in drywall, floors, and ceilings. I remember walking into buildings and having him talk about the ceiling they did in it and the smell of new carpet is all too reminiscent of my childhood. He would bid jobs with colored pencils (and probably still does) and on occasion I would hit up a job site with him and hold the tape measure. A dirty warehouse with a two person office, a sample carpet room, and space for a receptionist/accountant has been part of my story since birth. To me it's comfortable and familiar, not intimidating.

The world looks very different than it did six months ago - including how we work. Despite tackling this new norm of balancing work, homeschooling and a pandemic, how do you stay sane and keep purpose top if mind. 

Truly, when things get tough, lean on your purpose for strength. Taking a breather and coming back to your purpose will always help ground you. A personal example, when I heard our local school district was doing a hybrid model with the lingering thought that the school year would actually be starting 100% online, I remember feeling completely debilitated. I'm a mom of three kids with a fulltime job with expanding duties and a start-up, how on earth am I going to do this? I gave myself time to feel all the emotions of fear, sadness, overwhelm, anxiety... where I landed was "I figured it out once, I'll figure it out twice" My purpose says I'll lead us through this - and that's exactly what we have to do. Most mom's are leaders at heart - just watch who eats dinner last every night (in reference to Simon Sinek's concept - leaders eat last). 

You are balancing not only your kids and full time job - but also a new digital start up called Tradeworthy Jobs. It’s a new tool and approach for the construction industry. What does the app provide its users?

We are on a new journey. Our intent is to shake things up when it comes to filling jobs in the construction industry. Tradeworthy Jobs’ ultimate goal is to serve both construction employers - and potential construction employees - and get to the future faster. Born out of the frustration with current recruiting methods and tools, Tradeworthy Jobs directly connects employers with construction candidates - truly adapting to the users needs. It’s new, it’s exciting and we are continually evolving and adapting to our users needs. 

As construction firms create positions, our job is to serve them to the masses. The Tradeworthy Job app also allows employers to build a comprehensive company profile, allows candidates to message employers directly and gives candidates the ability to build their own profile with their experience (almost like a LinkedIn profile for construction candidates). We are encouraging readers of Today to give Tradeworthy Jobs a try for FREE - check out TradeworthyJobs.com for more information. We hope you will join this journey with us. 

Byline bio

With more than 15 years in the construction industry serving in a variety of HR leadership roles, and a rooted understanding of the challenges connecting construction employers to potential employees, Brittany launched Tradeworthy Jobs - an app and web-based platform dedicated to bridging that gap because of construction employers and candidates. Brittany earned her undergraduate and MBA degrees from Capital University, where she also played on the varsity volleyball team. Active in her central Ohio community, Brittany is married to Jason and has three amazing children, Ellie, Hali, and Brock.

Skilled Trade Worker Shortage? Skip College and Learn a Trade

There continues to be an overall skilled trades worker shortage in America; or a skills gap. While getting your 4-year college degree seems to be “all the rage”, the latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor & Statistics show that skilled trades such as welders and electricians once again top the latest list of the most difficult-to-fill job openings. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for all construction and extraction occupations was $47,430 in May 2019. That surpasses the median annual wage for all occupations ($39,810) by $7,620. That’s around a 20% increase.

The Trade Worker Shortage and Skills Gap

The lack of skilled trade workers has shifted from an emerging dilemma to an ongoing one. It seems largely the result of an educational system that continues to diminish the value and job satisfaction of working in the various trades. There is also a lack of communication about the benefits of working in trades and the often lucrative pay scales associated with being an electrician, carpenter, plumber, welder, etc.

Without serious influence and changes to how we view and run education, this ongoing “skills gap” can only get worse. This, in an industry already short on help. It isn’t uncommon to have a lot of job openings go unfilled for lack of qualified or willing candidates, even at times of high unemployment.

In a recent report by AGC and Sage Construction and Real Estate, 75% of those surveyed expected to add workers in 2020. The problem? 81% found it extremely difficult to fill open positions, and a majority anticipated even more difficulty in 2021 and beyond.

Skilled Trade Worker Positions in High Demand

The list of high-demand trade worker positions (and not getting filled) includes the Skilled Trades as well as IT staff, mechanics, nurses, and machinists. The Skilled Trades category includes, among others, construction workers, bricklayers, and electricians.

Based on this and similar reports we’ve read over the years, American employers seem to have more difficulty filling positions than their worldwide counterparts. This could be due to the American focus and glorification of college degrees and white-collar jobs. It often leads young people to expect a lot more for a lot less.

Making up for the Trade Worker Shortage

Companies, lacking enough skilled trade workers, turn to a variety of solutions when filling the skills gap. This leads to a need to deal with a two-pronged attack: losing workers to attrition and retirement and dealing with new workers who have less experience.

Many larger firms turn to internal investments to try and compensate. This includes using technology in new ways to reduce dependency on skilled workers or a depleted labor force; technology such as 3D printers, BIM (building information modeling) systems, drones, robotics, and more are often employes in an effort to slow this problem.

The other side of this involves changing construction methods to reduce labor. This may include pre-building components or the use of more serialized or simplistic construction methods.

How Do We Solve the Skills Gap?

  1. Encourage communication and education about the trades to young people, particularly at the middle school levels. You can do this by volunteering to speak at local schools or at your local school board meetings as an advocate. This really needs to occur before 9th grade when kids begin locking in plans to attend college.
  2. Spread the news to your friends and family. You have one voice, make it count. The trades offer a lot of job satisfaction. With the current deficit of workers, being a trade worker can help young people quickly earn decent money for a job well done.
  3. Educate young people on the true cost of college. College is for some—not everyone. On-the-job training and trade schools, however, typically cost far less than an average college degree. That even goes for community colleges. By entering the trades, young people can begin earning money sooner. They also pay down less student debt. Put it together, and they can bring their earned income to a much higher level more quickly.
  4. Hire young people and prepare your own company to educate and grow job skills. You have to walk the walk if you want the industry to change. Prepare your company for the patience, training, and programs required to encourage young people in the skilled trades.

DO YOU HAVE A FUTURE IN THE SKILLED TRADES?

The future can be built only by those who know how to build — and by “build,” we mean install heating, ventilating and air conditioning; flooring; appliances; and all the other modern amenities we rely on to keep our offices, homes, and communities running.

But by 2028, there will be an estimated 3 million job vacancies in the skilled trades.

Led by Lowe’s, Generation T is a new initiative that aims to close this gap by laying out a path to nurture the skills of talented tradespeople by connecting them to prospective apprenticeships and jobs.

HERE’S WHAT THE SKILLED LABOR SHORTAGE LOOKS LIKE TODAY:

69% of members of the National Association of Home Builders reported delays in construction projects due to a shortage of unqualified workers.

SO WHERE ARE ALL THE QUALIFIED TRADESPEOPLE?

Skilled trades professionals are nearing retirement. Nearly half of all U.S. electricians are projected to retire in the next 10 years with few trained to take their place.

As the next generation enters the workforce, the perception of valuable economic skills has shifted considerably. In many high schools today, you’re more likely to find a coding class than a shop class. But there’s no app that can compare to the human know-how required of an electrician or a plumber.

TECHNOLOGY & SKILLED TRADES WILL SHAPE OUR FUTURE:

The trades are just as vital to the future of our economy as tech companies. While startups might build their products in the cloud, they still need a physical space in which to collaborate, work, and bring ideas to life. That’s where skilled tradespeople come in.

DO YOU LIKE WORKING WITH YOUR HANDS?

If the thought of attending a four-year university doesn’t feel like the right fit, the trades can provide a valuable alternative career path. You’ll enter the workforce faster and find yourself on a lucrative career path. Opening your own small business is even a possibility.

An electrician’s median starting salary is $59,100 compared with the $49,700 median starting salary of a college humanities major

HERE’S HOW TRADE SCHOOL STACKS UP AGAINST COLLEGE:

You can earn a trade school degree and enter the workforce in just2 years.

College lasts four years and could cost more than $154,000, taking into account loans and interest. By that calculation, five years into your career, your net earnings would be about: $79,000if you’d gone to trade school. -$107,000if you’d taken the college track since you’d likely be paying off loans for years.

Over the long haul, a trade school degree or pre-apprentice certification in the trades has the potential to give you a leg up on retirement savings, too: You could bank an additional $22,000 in savings by entering the workforce two years earlier. [SOURCE]

5 States with the Highest Employment Levels for Welders

If you’re considering learning welding or have already begun taking welding classes, chances are you’re wondering where you’ll find work once you complete your training. Where are welders employed?

The following gives an overview of the five states with the highest levels of employment for welding jobs. Salary and employment numbers are based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data from May 2015 for welders, cutters, solderers and brazers (51-4121).

texas welding

Texas

Texas has been called the welding jobs capital of the United States and it is not hard to see why. Texas has the highest level of employment than any other state. In fact, Houston has the highest level of employment of welders in a Metropolitan area. There are many industries to pick from, including industrial manufacturing, automotive welding, pipeline welding, ship and boat building, and architectural welding. Texas welders earn an annual wage of $43,580, which is above the national average. 1

Annual Wage: $43,580

ohio welding

California

California is home to 27,070 welders. The annual mean wage for these welders is $42,970.i It has the second highest level of employment of welders in the United States. The water infrastructure the state relies on is aging and in need of skilled repair work. Other employment opportunities can be found in the manufacturing sector. In fact, Bakersfield is of the top paying metropolitan areas for welding.  The annual mean wage for these welders is $53,260.

Annual Wage: $53,260

pennsylvania welding

Pennsylvania

The steel industry once dominated Pennsylvania. Oil and gas starting making headway, as companies started drilling. As the oil and gas industry has fallen, fracking although controversial has been endorsed as an alternative to coal, and Pennsylvania has been leading the way. 2 This may create opportunities for welders with the right welding training and the willingness to work on pipelines throughout the state. At present, Pennsylvania has 18,060 welders and the mean annual wage for those in this profession is $40,510.

Annual Wage: $40,510

louisiana welding

Louisiana

There are a few good reasons to be a welder in Louisiana. It has one of the highest levels of employment for welders, and the annual mean wage of $44,370 is higher than the national average. In fact, Baton Rouge has one of the highest levels of employment in a metropolitan area making an annual mean wage of $44,910. Overall, Louisiana has the highest concentration of jobs than any other state.

Annual Wage: $44,910

ohio welding

Ohio

Ohio has the fifth highest level of employment for welders of 16,340 welders with the mean annual wage of $38,030. If you are a welder and not working in a big city doesn’t bother you, North Northeastern Ohio has one of the highest level of employment for a non-metropolitan area.

Annual Wage: $38,030

A Good Place to Start Looking

Like looking for a job in any industry, you will want to take the time and do some research. Consider questions like which industries are hiring? How much experience do I need? How much do the jobs pay? Being a welder, you may be required to move where the jobs are as industry trends change and some locations, you may be more employable. For those currently taking welding classes, check with your school’s career services to see if they have any leads in the state you want to work.

Here's Why Your Kid Should Go Into the Trades

Skilled trade positions are currently the hardest to fill in the United States and around the world.

The trades are definitely a solid bet for anyone looking for a secure and profitable career. According to a survey conducted by ManpowerGroup, trade positions are currently the hardest to fill in the United States and around the world. Specifically, the top ten positions with the largest shortages include carpenters, framers, bricklayers/masons, concrete workers, drywallers, roofers, electricians, plumbers, painters and excavators.

Young people aren't pursuing careers in the trades

According to Jennifer Weber, EVP of human resources for Lowe's, the home improvement retailer conducted a survey that found that only five percent of parents in the U.S. expect their high school-aged students to pursue a career in the skilled trades. She also points out that the number of people showing an interest in a skilled trade is dwindling as more high schools have pulled back on offering construction-based shop classes. At the same time, 3 million skilled trades positions are predicted to be open by 2028.

The trades have a lot to offer

Consider a variety of opportunities, getting to work with your hands, high demand, good salaries, benefits and job security. That's according to Robin Fleming, co-founder, and CEO of Anvl, a workforce first safety solutions software company, who says that because of the growing skilled labor shortage companies needing workers are motivated to recruit, train and retain workers and are offering competitive perks, benefits and salaries to fill positions. And because hands-on training often happens on the job, young people can quickly figure out if a path is a good fit and adjust if it's not. That's compared with investing four years into college to get a desk job which they may or may not like.

Jobs and training programs are easy to find

Weber says young people can learn on the job straight out of high school, or get some kind of formal training or certification before trying to get hired. For its employees, Lowe's offers a "Track to the Trades" program which pays for tuition as they complete a pre-apprentice certification in carpentry, HVAC, electrical, plumbing and appliance repair. Once certified, Lowe's then helps them get jobs within its installation network.

In addition, Lowe's and more than 60 national partners launched a "Generation T" program earlier this year which aims to connect high schoolers and people wanting a career change with opportunities in the trades. At WeAreGenerationT.com anyone considering the trades can get information about what the work in a particular field involves, what the earning potential is and input a ZIP code to find nearby jobs and training programs.

Fleming adds that several U.S. legislatures are actively working to address the skilled trade labor shortage with a number of bills that were introduced in 2019.

Skilled Trades, Plumbers, Career Outlook Positive

In an economy where most industries are suffering a labor shortage, the skilled trades are still one of the hardest jobs to fill in the U.S. (2017 Staffing Manpower Census). A combination of retiring baby boomers and a lack of young workers entering the trades has placed a significant strain on the workforce, resulting in high wages and strong growth projections for occupations that typically require an apprenticeship. Example occupations that require advanced training include plumbers/pipefitters, carpenters, electricians, and steelworkers. Since 2014, 1.5 million workers have retired from the trades as a result of the outgoing baby boomer population. The average age of today’s trades worker is over 50 years old!

Faced with a labor shortage, the wages and projected career growth for licensed plumbers remains very strong, especially in Montana. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2017), the mean wages for plumbers was $57,070 per year, with the top 10 percent earning $91,810! The projected rate of employment growth for plumbers was 15.6% – the highest among occupations typically requiring an apprenticeship and higher than most major occupational groups in general.

5 MYTHS ABOUT SKILLED TRADES YOU NEED TO DEBUNK

You work in the Skilled Trades (or are looking into it), so you know what an exciting and growing industry it is. Unfortunately, not everyone understands why a career in Skilled Trades is a smart move in today’s economy. In fact, many workers have a negative view of the industry based on some common misconceptions—and many don’t even understand the variety of jobs available within the industries.

Myth 1: “These jobs don’t pay well.”
Truth: New workers don’t expect huge starting salaries the first day on the job, but they do want to know they’re entering a field with salary growth potential. Many companies offer competitive salaries and a solid trajectory for skilled trades workers who gain additional experience, broaden their skills, and even gain certifications along the way.

Myth 2: “You can’t find work year-round.”
Truth: Not everyone understands the breadth of skilled trades and many people often confuse them with general labor that ebbs and flows with the seasons.  There is a constant need for plumbers, carpenters, electricians, and other roles year-round.

Myth 3: “I don’t have enough experience.”
Truth: Many companies offer apprenticeship programs, on-the-job training, and education assistance. So chances are, you can find work in a skilled trade even with little-to-no experience.

Myth 4: “It’s a dying industry.”
Truth: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts the average growth rate for all occupations from 2016-2026 to be 7% as carpentry, sheet metal workers, electricians, and other related fields grow at the same rate. Even more, the BLS predicts plumber and pipefitter jobs will grow 16% during that same time period.

Myth 5: “It’s boring.”
Truth: Any skilled trades worker can dispel this myth in a few seconds, and you probably have your own stories to share. There are many environments you can work in: residential homes, skyscrapers, government projects, factories…the options seem endless. If there’s one job that’s the opposite of working in a cubicle all day, it’s going to be in the skilled trades.

The myths that surround skilled trades are easily debunked, especially when you can share your own personal career journey. After all, you’re still working in this industry for a reason; don’t keep it a secret!