Careers in business and finance, medicine, law, and similar fields seem like safe options to secure a decent salary and lifestyle, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that trades are a vital part of progressive societies. Plumbers, electricians, postal workers, and carpenters interact daily with creative minds and engineers to power an advanced machine that is the twenty-first century. Trades are needed, and according to the current job market, opportunity abounds.
CBS, CNBC, and Forbes, all of whom reported on the unpreparedness of college graduates who are applying for professional jobs, have concluded that the job market for college-educated adults remains narrow and competitive. Meanwhile, the country is experiencing a deficit of skilled trade workers and apprentices. In August of 2017, PBS reported on the shortage of tradespeople in California resulting from an overwhelming emphasis on academic pathways. Fortunately, though the low demand might make the prices of trade schools drop, the value of the opportunity remains high as young apprentices and professionals face a thirsty job market.
The Benefits of Apprenticeship
Students at trade schools are geared toward a narrow and concrete career path, and they have the opportunity to learn hands-on skills, earn money, and network simultaneously. Dr. Anthony Carnevale, who is the director of the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University, claims that on average, “skilled apprentices in the U.S. earn more than the average college graduate over a lifetime, with the exception of those in high-end majors” like some STEM fields. Apprentices may work for a lower wage than a professional, but they are gaining the type of experience that companies trust when looking for that first professional opportunity.
Apprenticeships as Multidisciplinary Opportunities
Apprenticeship programs often work in conjunction with community colleges that offer Associate degrees in a variety of fields. Students can complete a general higher education while working full time, gaining valuable experience, and networking alongside peers and professionals. The Solid Cabinetry Company in Tempe Arizona offers apprenticeship programs for new employees to learn the trade, get paid, and receive benefits. Students can pursue a career in cabinetry and fill a few post-high school years with valuable academic study all while learning a great skill and getting more experience than their peers.
Prime Time for an Apprenticeship
The necessity of trades has never been more pronounced than when there was a lack of skilled workers. The Return on Investment (ROI) for a trade school is significantly high because of the minimal amount of time and resources skilled workers have to expend to start an exciting and fulfilling career. The time is ripe for society to look seriously at the importance of the roles each member of society plays—hardhat or suit-and-tie notwithstanding.