Getting Young People into Skilled Trades

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Welding is one of the industries that will be hit with an expected shortage of 400,000 by the year 2024. 1 Many educational institutions and companies are reaching out to young people and showing them what skilled trades work has to offer.

Popularity of Trade Programs on the Rise

Some people are starting college only to drop out with no degree and student debt causing those to rethink the commonly accepted theory that a young person needs a bachelor’s degree to be successful in life. 2 That’s why many are opting to attend a trade school without taking out multiple student loans where they can receive training for a career like welding that doesn’t take four years.

How Different Industries Are Reaching Out to Students



One industry that is trying to reach out to young people is manufacturing trying to recruit the next generation of technicians and engineers. Manufacturers have set up booths at high school career fairs to let students know about the many job vacancies available to combat negative connotations regarding the industry, and the work they will be doing is more interesting than they have been led to believe. Some may offer extra benefits to compete for workers. One company is paying its intern’s college tuition as an investment. 3




Tulsa Welding School (TWS) is participating in the Future Farmers of America (FFA) Conventions and Expo on October 19-22. You may not think of welding, but you would be wrong. TWS is premiering its 3600 Virtual Reality video showing young people all the different opportunities they can have in welding and what life is life without those options.




One construction company is reaching out to high schools, colleges and universities in order to attract talented individuals to this line of work and to combat the labor shortage. They also offer jobsite tours so that young people can see that construction also involves technology. Additionally, construction industries are putting a priority on recruiting women who may be interested in a construction-related trade, letting them know that there are plenty of training and job opportunities available to them. 4


Have You Considered a Career in the Skilled Trades?

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HVAC is realizing the importance of not only reaching high school students but also junior high students. Not many students get much career counseling before high school which provides HVAC (and other industries) the possibility of exposing the financial rewards of learning a skilled trade. The challenge of recruiting high school students is guidance counselors steering them toward four years universities. That is the reason why there is a push to attract younger students in the industry before they have been negatively influenced against the skilled trades. 5


New Talent Needed to Keep Skilled Trades Thriving

Reaching high school students is important to keep skilled trade industries thriving. Vocational schools are certainly trying to do their part, as are companies that need welders and other skilled trade workers. At the same time, young people who are considering a skilled trade need encouragement from others outside the industry. Parents, counselors and friends play a big role in helping young people understand that skilled labor can be every bit as rewarding as traditional white collar jobs.

Additional Sources

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