Educating Tradesmen: What Are You Doing to Play it Forward?

by | Jan 18, 2012

One of the biggest issues all of us have is finding good people. People who know what they are doing and can help contribute to the bottom line. In my travels talking with both manufacturers and contractors, top on their list is finding good help. One contractor told me recently finding work isn’t the problem, finding people to do it is!

So whether you’re a manufacturer, distributor or a contractor, what are you doing to play it forward to make sure we have skilled people ready for the work force? Might I suggest you get involved especially on a local level.

  • Talk to high school students and show them that there are options to a 4-year college degree.
  • Let them know that technicians in the electrical, HVAC or plumbing fields use sophisticated equipment in doing their jobs.
  • Let them know they can’t export those kinds of jobs and the rest of us depend on them on a daily basis.
  • And oh, by the way, they can make a damn fine living.

For those who want to work in a manufacturing facility, they may be running machining cells worth millions of dollars. In order to compete for those kinds of jobs, you need to be trained and must come to the table with skills like math.

So what are options if we want to be good corporate citizens? There are local trade schools, technical and community colleges that either have or could initiate programs to train future workers. One such program is Skills America which is a regional program that can be taken and adapted to your needs.

More importantly, you can support the schools by giving away scholarships to students in need. Financial help via government loans are drying up. For those who want to improve themselves and contribute to society, what better way of supporting them. Now I’m not talking thousands of dollars in scholarships. What if you could give a few $500-a-year ones? It would help with books and tuition. More importantly, it will send a message to the community about who you are.

Most of you belong to national trades associations and some might have local programs you could participate in. If you can’t find a local source, there are always places like Mike Rowe’s foundation that supports the trades.

The key is now that the economy is starting to turn around, let’s do something that will improve the workforce and eventually come back to help each and every one of us. The key is DO SOMETHING.

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