Did you know: For every 4 or 5 leaving skilled trades, only 1 is entering? This is a staggering statistic. Ask anyone in the skilled trade fields and they will agree that good, skilled labor is hard to find in construction, plumbing, electric, welding, etc. For years, our youth has been told that the answer to a solid career is at a University. That isn’t the case anymore. Read on for information and ways to explore and talk about skilled trades with today’s youth. (If you’re reading this in March/April 2018, head over to our Facebook page for a fun art contest for the kids that helps start the conversation! Link: https://www.facebook.com/TotalProRoofing/posts/1917249818346638 )
A College Diploma Does Not Guarantee a Job.
The market has become saturated with job seekers holding a coveted diploma and competition among them is heavy for white-collar jobs. 21 year-olds are disappointed to learn that $50,000+ starting salaries for a business degree are less common than they thought. Graduating students find themselves with debt from student loans and entry level jobs closer to minimum wage and often not in the field they studied.
Technical Schools and Skilled Labor
There’s good news though! In Georgia, there are organizations like CEFGA (Construction Education Foundation of Georgia), a non-profit, leading the way with 20 day Construction Ready programs for adults and their K12 pipeline program for our youth. (Link: www.cefga.org) You can also learn more about Georgia Trade Five (formerly Go Build Georgia) which lists additional resources: http://www.georgiatradefive.com/ For those interested in entering the roofing field, much of the educational opportunities come in the form of apprenticeships, but there are programs available. The National Roofing Contractor’s Association has a ProCertification program beginning Summer 2018. You can learn more about it here: http://www.nrca.net/ProCert-Training.
Empowerment & Opportunity
A recent statistic is that by 2025, 75% of the workforce will be Millennials. It is a safe assumption that the majority of these individuals will be driven more towards technology-based jobs. Those that think outside the box and gain a construction skill will not only have the empowerment on how to build that figurative box, but will be able to fill it with exponential amounts of opportunity. Technology skills are still needed in all fields, but those who know how to create and work with their hands are the ones who are facing the most opportunity as more companies find skilled labor roles harder to fill.
Shape the Future and Start the Conversation
Help our youth begin to look at skilled trades with a fresh view. Help them start to think about how buildings are constructed and the materials and tools it takes. Talk about all the inner workings of a building – plumbing, electricity, support beams, etc. Have them try to draw a blueprint or design the layout of their perfect home and then add details on how they would run wires and pipes. Look at all the angles on many of the hip roofs constructed today. (They certainly aren’t as simple as a barn roof anymore!) For roofing, talk about how shingles and even underlayment need to be laid so that water flows off correctly for the complex facets, like in a valley. These conversations are vital as we instill value into the skilled trades as a respectable and well-paying career option.