In the AEC industry, tradespeople are what make the world go ‘round. From automotive technology and computer programming to carpentry and welding, tradespeople are highly skilled workers specializing in jobs that power our economy.
Electricians, plumbers, masons, medical technicians, mechanics, BIM technicians, welders, and precision machinists ensure the job gets done. These professionals not only draft and build the projects designed by architects and engineers, they maintain the complex infrastructure of our roads, cities, water systems, and power grids. Their skillset, knowledge, or ability keep our businesses, homes, and communities running.
Those of you reading this are very familiar with the current shortage of skilled tradespeople. It has far-reaching implications for worker safety and construction quality, as well as project costs and delays. With the existing workforce aging and retiring, the lack of interest from high school graduates is worrisome.
Today is National Tradesperson Day, which calls for reflection on the generations to come just as much as it asks for recognition. Public schools rarely inform their students that trade school is a viable and professional alternative to college or university.
A college degree isn’t necessary to make a good living. On-the-job training and vocational schools provide for a precise path for a stable career. In skilled trade careers, apprenticeship programs provide the means to work immediately and earn viable certifications. Many students of a trade school or community college graduate with little or no debt. On top of all that, the inspiration and challenge of building something lasting and visible is incredibly rewarding.
And trades aren’t only in the building industry. There is always a need for metal fabricators, commercial truck drivers, carpenters, phlebotomy and pharmacy technicians, and automotive service technicians and mechanics. With so many advantages to a trade career, it should be considered a more viable option in the professional world.