With the national unemployment rate consistently dropping, the search is on for companies to attract and retain a workforce and quality employees in a variety of fields. A heavy focus is currently on skilled trades as the entire nation faces a looming labor shortage as the baby boomer generation retires from many jobs in carpentry, painting, masonry, electricians and many more hands-on careers. According to the Associated General Contractors of America survey, 74 percent of firms will experience a shortfall of skilled tradesmen and women and a predicted 31 million positions will be vacant by 2020 due to baby boomer retirement estimations.
Why Skilled Trades?
A four-year college investment and traditional schooling is not every person’s cup of tea. The skilled trades offer men and women a hands-on career option with the satisfaction of seeing a project from beginning to end. Tradesmen and women have the unique ability to create spaces that people rely on, enjoy and use every day. They also have perfected the basic, yet invaluable skills which can be used at home, at work or in any situation. There are various trades choices for people to choose from:
- Project Schedulers/Managers
In addition to the hands-on experience in any of these fields, the increasing salaries and job security associated with trades is impressive and worthy of noting as high school students look ahead to their future.
According to Indeed, the average skilled trades hourly wage ranges from $15.88 for an Electrician Tech to $40 an hour for Project Schedulers. Those numbers mean the salary range is just as wide – anywhere from $50,000 to almost $90,000 on average, depending on the field. These types of salaries can be obtained within the first handful of years on a job while many 4-year college attendees are likely finishing courses and beginning their entry-level positions elsewhere.
Where to Begin: New Educational Choices
Just like any other career, there are courses that can teach men and women the skills they need to learn to succeed in various skilled trades. Many middle and high schools are beginning to teach these classes in hopes to attract an interested workforce at a younger age. During sophomore, junior and senior years, many students can enroll in pre-apprenticeship or mentoring programs to see what a day looks like in trades. This gives them an early opportunity to ask questions and explore a handful of choices in painting, masonry, HVAC, plumbing and more.
After high school, students can choose a 2-year trade school verse a 4-year university. The benefit lies in time – these courses cost less, take less time to complete and gets the person into their career faster. The 4-year university tuitions and rates continually increase, raising 3- percent in Iowa alone in 2019-2020.
There are also apprenticeships and training partnerships available which, in some cases, allow men or women to side-step college all together.
In any case, there are multiple pathways to finding a career in the skilled trades whether you are in high school, in your 20’s, 40’s or any stage in life. Hubbell recognizes the value of highly skilled tradespeople and relies on their expertise every day. That’s why we are a supporter, donor and mentor of the Des Moines Public School Central Campus’ Skilled Trades Alliance and Skilled Trades Academy.
Founded in 2016, the Skilled Trades Alliance raised more than $1 million to hire three teachers and improve the equipment used in the Central Campus classrooms and in turn, form the Skilled Trades Academy. Since then, student enrollment in the Academy has increased from 90 students to more than 300. Hubbell is also a proud mentor and pre-apprenticeship program holder for the Academy. We continue to help students find their path in the skilled trades community whether that’s a career with our company or one of our hundreds of trade partners throughout central Iowa.
To learn more about Hubbell career opportunities, visit our website and see our available trades positions.