Millions of Americans who lost their jobs due to the pandemic are facing a choice, and are in a perfect position to make a change. All those who followed the path to go to college, get a good job and make something of yourself, are realizing that having a bachelor’s degree working at Starbucks with lifelong crushing debt is pretty ridiculous.
At the same time, the number of skilled labor jobs in the U.S. is significantly exceeding the supply of workers qualified to fill them, and even better, the opportunity for rising wages is unlimited… Unlike restaurant and hospitality workers.
So, what’s the solution?
Perhaps we should stop perpetuating the myth that college is the only path to success and social acceptance. what’s needed instead, are programs that elevate the respect level of current trade professionals. We need to focus more messaging and training campaigns that promise exciting incentives for those entering the profession.
The skilled trades have been in desperate need of workers for many years, and only now that it’s becoming desperate are people starting to listen. I think the pandemic helped show many people that their jobs were not “essential” jobs and helped them to realize that real success is providing an essential service to the community, making a difference, and still being able to make a living. These are steady, well-paying jobs that hold a bright future, even in an unpredictable economic climate.
To address the growing skilled trades gap, many companies are becoming involved in awareness and training programs. In addition, you see many spokes people, TV shows and campaigns popping up. Even networks like Discovery, History, and others have dedicated entire programing platforms to the trades.
But it takes all of us to break this myth created by colleges & universities, perpetuated by high school guidance counselors, and society, that the trades are somehow “less than”. Somehow the path you take when you are not cut out for college.
Consequences of doing Nothing
The shortage of skilled tradespeople isn’t only impacting employment. But it limits the growth of our economy. Construction is the single largest trades employer, and without qualified trades people, we cannot build the infrastructure to support a growing economy. Without this infrastructure, we cannot provide products and services, and our economy will eventually grind to a halt.
We can have all the college educated engineers, economists, CEOs, accountants, and professionals we want. But without the skilled trades professionals to produce the products we use, none of those jobs exist.
It’s time to get involved, and help us make the trades cool again.
Nick Kasik, with Working