With nationwide student loan debt over $1 trillion and many college graduates with four-year degrees struggling to find employment to make ends meet, younger generations are starting to consider the benefits of a career in the trades.
Parents are taking note that qualified trade workers are in high demand in construction, automotive, manufacturing, and other industries.
“You can get proper training for many trades through a two-year vocational college, certificate program or even apprenticeship,” says Joe Apolloni, Senior Vice President of Retail at Northern Tool + Equipment. “Compared to many four-year degrees, the overall cost is less to pursue trade careers and many people are hired immediately after graduation at respectable salaries.”
Parents and caregivers can help their children learn more about a possible career in the trades, while many companies, like Northern Tool + Equipment, are also supporting the cause by donating equipment and expertise to trade schools and their students to encourage and empower students to pursue a career in the trades.
To spark your child’s curiosity and help them take the first steps toward a trades career, Apolloni recommends these steps:
1. Talk it out
From wind turbine technicians to welders to elevator mechanics and beyond, there are hundreds of trades and many have transformed significantly in recent years due to technological advances. Start by having a conversation with your student about their interests, desires for the future, and which trades might be a good fit.
2. Sign up for electives or extracurricular programs
Ask about school opportunities related to the trades. Many schools offer elective courses and activities introducing a variety of trade skills. Meet with the school counselor and ask questions about these classes and sign up for any that spark an interest.
3. Find a mentor or community volunteer opportunity
Many schools and communities offer mentoring programs that can help students learn more about trades and make valuable connections to support their career exploration. Also consider volunteer opportunities.
“So many jobs are just waiting to be filled by the next generation of talented trade workers,” says Apolloni. “It’s a really exciting time to be involved in the trades.”