We’ve all heard about the great labor shortage that is plaguing many industries right now and none have been harder hit than the Skilled Trades. Research shows that we’re going to need more than four million skilled laborers to replace the nearly eight million lost from the labor force during the pandemic among other issues. In addition to those lost, a lack of public education, and exposure to the trades is another major cause of the labor shortage. A 2017 study found that only 3% of people aged 18-25 wanted to work in skilled trades, yet there are still over 6 million skilled trade jobs open across the US.
There are over 6,700 trade schools nationwide. A trade school is a technical program that teaches skills related to a specific job. With shorter class time, smaller groups, and abundant hands-on training, trade schools often lead to well-paying jobs like electricians, plumbers, and HVAC technicians. Graduates of trade schools leave with valuable certificates and licenses that enable them to land those jobs that are so needed and very hard to fill. With programs taking much shorter time than a typical 4-year university, trade school graduates can sometimes complete a course in as little as 6 months, with others taking 2 years to complete. Thankfully, enrollment is increasing, making trade schools a great solution to the growing labor shortage.
So how do we, Work With Your Handz, utilize trade schools and the candidate pool that is available? To start with, we recruit for many companies that are looking for entry level technicians with some education or hands on experience. We have gone to job fairs and have worked with trade school placement counselors to help find their graduates jobs, once they have successfully completed their program. We foster relationships with CDL schools, as well as people leaving the military looking for a job in the civilian world. We work with our clients to find what they are looking for in their apprentices or entry level technicians, and through our relationships with these schools, are very successful in filling their hiring needs with recent graduates. As the pandemic subsides, and job fairs and career fairs come back, we will be attending them, not just to find interested candidates, but also to foster and re-ignite relationships with the schools that produce these valuable apprentices.
As with everything, the pandemic seriously hurt the recruiting success of our partnership with trade schools. We saw many go out of business, closing their doors to these eager students. We are hopeful that through our outstanding relationship building skills and communication we can restore these vital partnerships to help our clients.
We know of several high-profile people who are taking matters into their own hands and doing something about the shortage of trade school opportunities. Television host Mike Rowe has created a foundation to combat this problem. He established a scholarship to help people from lower income situations have the ability to learn a trade and become successful. Businessman Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale from Houston, TX turned part of his warehouse into a trade school for kids in his Northern Houston neighborhood. He has helped hundreds of students who were not college bound learn trade skills that will help them for their future.
Several organizations are doing their part as well. Explore the Trades was founded in 2005, and their mission is to develop the next generation of a skilled workforce by changing the perception of the trades. They work with High Schools all across the country to lessen the stigma of having a job in the trades as well as the benefits of the opportunities. They partner with all major HVAC companies as well as several residential home service companies to offer interested students job opportunities and a clear and concise career path. They recently partnered with Ferguson to create a Trade Skills Lab to give students a hands-on opportunity to learn about plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical careers.
Everyone in the skilled trades industry is aware of the shortage of qualified technicians and apprentices. Work With Your Handz is always striving to find partnerships that will help our clients solve their hiring needs and meet their goals. Working together with positive publications of the jobs, pay, benefits, work/life balance, etc, we are hopeful that we can solve this skilled trades labor shortage.