Why Aren’t Young People Considering Blue Collar Jobs?

March 27, 2012

It’s ironic that every manufacturer or contractor that I talk to have plenty of work to do, but a limited number of qualified people to do it. Mike Rowe recently pointed out that young folks can make up to 100K a year working in a factory according to a recent article on CNN Money.com. The same holds true for other tradesmen like plumbers, electricians and HVAC contractors. These folks can make 60-80K a year, and they can’t ship those jobs across the pond.

These factory jobs aren’t low tech anymore, or are they in dingie old factories. These are high-tech, high-salary jobs running multi-million dollar manufacturing cells using the latest computer technology. Right Skills Now is a program that was started to get both technical schools and colleges to work together to train workforces. Its model can be started anywhere in the country and for various types of jobs.

If we want to have a resurrection of manufacturing jobs here, we need to start letting parents and kids know there are alternatives to a 4-year degree. If you’re a manufacturer or contractor, here are some grass-roots things you can do in your community to promote these kinds of jobs:

  • At career days at your schools, volunteer to talk to the kids. Give them the benefits of the opportunities that are available. Make it fun, exciting and cool!
  • Work with your trade associations and school guidance counselors to make sure they have the proper info to give to kids.
  • Have an open house or career day event and bring local students to your place and show them the opportunities.

What things can you add to the list? We’re all in this together and we need to let young people know about these opportunities.


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