March 20, 2023
Changing the perception
Before we can expect the next generation of the workforce to join the trades en masse, we have to change the perceptions that prevent many of them from considering the trades as a viable path for success.
With the cost of college far outpacing inflation and the value proposition (increased earning potential) coming into question, there has been more emphasis on “reinvigorating the trades.”
This can’t happen soon enough.
Doomsday predictions are common in the business world (negativity sells), but in this case, I believe the concern is warranted.
The trades are, at present, largely run and operated by a very experienced group of men and women.
This is great for now, but as we are already seeing, a lot of these people are untying their work boots for the last time as they embark on well-deserved retirements.
Without getting the next generation in the door as soon as possible, we’re at risk of millions of years of experience and tribal knowledge walking out the door when our retirees do.
This puts our entire country at risk.
So what is the solution?
I think a lot of it starts with changing the perception of the trades.
What do I mean by that?
First, you’re not “dumb” if you go into the trades—some of the smartest people I have ever known spent their careers with their sleeves rolled up on the shop floor.
Kids who are strong students typically have little exposure in high school to shop classes and the trades, which is detrimental to both the student and the industrial trades. Many would be good fits. Strong students should not automatically be steered away from the trades.
Additionally, there is (A LOT) of money to be made. Some of the wealthiest people I know have made their fortunes in manufacturing, construction or similar industries.
What I love about the industrial world is that you can largely control your destiny.
Want a comfortable career and plenty of free time? Check.
Want to go all out and make millions? You can get do that, too. It’s up to you.
Changing perceptions won’t change things overnight, but I think could be the catalyst to bringing more young people in the door.
PS: I think the best way to solve the college debt problem is the trades—you can get PAID to learn (like we have at HFW Industries, Inc.). It’s a win-win.