As young people graduate from high school and college to pursue careers, the older generations are nearing retirement. Technology has reduced the physical stress of many jobs, and it’s not uncommon for white-collar professionals to work into their 70s. Many college graduates find themselves underemployed or entrenched in low-paying internships that linger well beyond graduation. But it doesn’t have to be this way!
For decades now, many high schools have focused on “selling” college prep programs and glossed over Career and Technical Education (CTE). Newsflash! Students can have a satisfying and challenging career by following the seemingly forgotten CTE track.
It was not unusual for bright students who were interested and suited to CTE to be talked into pursuing college instead. The implication being that college-bound kids are smarter and better prepared for life. Wrong!
Students pursuing technical careers need strong math, communication, and mechanical science skills as well as the ability to adapt quickly. Not only do technical jobs demand training and credentials, they also require ongoing continuing education to maintain certifications. Going down the path to the trades often leads to a lifetime of learning!
A serious labor shortage exists within the building and construction industry due to baby-boomers “aging out” and the decades-long misconception that every kid needs a college degree. It’s time to stop pushing college on everyone and encourage students to prepare for careers in CTE related fields.
While technology may have made white collar jobs easier, it’s opened so many new opportunities in the trades. Who is going to wire those smart homes, LED lighting, and leverage advances in heating and plumbing?
A career in the trades is not boring or a dead-end job. There’s room to grow and change direction within the industry. Many people who start out in the trades become General Contractors, builders, and business owners, earning high salaries and respect. The possibilities are endless.
The National Kitchen and Bath Association is dedicated to encouraging millennials to pursue a career in the trades. Check out this video from KBIS 2018 to see what the building industry is doing to right this wrong: