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Promoting Skilled Trade Careers

skilled trade careers

A student is in your office and you are talking about plans for the future. They tell you that they do not want to go to college. Rather than push college, it is important for guidance counselors to explore all college and career options with students. The reality is that many trades are having a difficult time filling all of their jobs. This means job security which is not always a reality for many who get a degree in college.

Decrease in Trade Jobs Being Filled

For years, a family and generations which followed would be working in a specific trade. They would be expected to follow in the footsteps of their parents and grandparents. A lot of this changed as students decided to break from the traditions and head to college.

The pressure changed from following your family to going to college and getting a degree. The prospect of a wonderful program of study and well-paying job was enticing to many teens. Families let go of the expected family business lines. Over the years, this has meant that many parts of the United States are now struggling with filling trade jobs.

In addition to this, guidance counselors and other adults may have inadvertently pushed students away from trade jobs. If they told an adult that they did not want to go to college, they may have been questioned about this. Even if they didn’t say they should not have, simply questioning the teen may have made them assume there was a problem with their plan.

Why Trade Jobs are Critical

Manufacturing jobs in the United States are at risk if there is not a trained trade workforce. These are well-paid jobs which are often sitting there unfilled. Many young adults do not think about these avenues and automatically think college is a must. Guidance counselors and other adults in schools need to work with local trade unions to set up apprentice opportunities for students in high school.

Other countries have programs like this set up and more here need to utilize this opportunity. Some schools are actively expanding their vo-tech or trade school course selections to ease the transition. Reach out to trade unions in your area to come up with ways to work together to give students more opportunity. This could include plumbing, welding, electrical, and other trade professions.

Does your school district provide high school students with on-site trade education and experience? Share how this has helped students to determine whether or not they wanted to pursue the trade career or go to college. This is a hot topic in many areas but needs to be looked into since there is often more job security for kids who learn trade skills.


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