For those of you who read my posts on a regular basis, you know I’m concerned about the long-term viability of all the trades because the older tradesmen are retiring at a far greater pace than young folks coming in. I recently read an article in Contractor Magazine that said that out of every 4 people who leave the trades, only one is entering the field.
Gordy Noe, president of Pioneer Heating and Air Conditioning in Knoxville, Tennessee, has come up with a unique program called, “Ride and Decide” where he hires high school students for summer jobs and puts them to work. It gives them a chance to dip their toe in the water and see what opportunities are out their other than a 4-year degree.
It’s a win-win for everyone. Young folks get paid work for the summer break and get to experience a trade that they wouldn’t have the opportunity to otherwise do. Contractors get to show them firsthand what they do and what the potential earning power is in the trades. Here’s an interesting stat – only about 10% of those that graduate college actually get a job in the field they studied!
This program is a great model that other contractors across the country might want to try. Talk with local high schools and post jobs both in the schools and online via the social media outlets. Don’t try to do it all on your own. Go to your trade associations like the PHCC or NECA. They certainly should have resources that will help you attract the attention of the younger set.
Who knows, you might be able to start growing talent from within. You could hire these young folks, and as part of their training, offer them educational support by paying for classes at a local trade school or community college.
If you liked this post, you might find these of interest: