Skills Gap: We’re Between a Rock and a Hard Place

By John Sonnhalter, founder and rainmaker journeyman, Sonnhalter

Our workforce is aging faster than we can replace them, especially in the skilled labor category.

High schools used to push college as the only viable alternative to higher education. These graduates, with their liberal arts education, come into the workforce with no vocational skills. And individuals who lack the right skills or credentials, land in careers with little or no chance for meaningful advancement.

We’ve talked for years, now, about how many of our youth are missing opportunities in the workforce because they were thinking that they had to go to college. Let’s face it, college is not for everyone and for many who go to college, they end up in jobs that have nothing to do with their major.

In recent years, the media and the rest of the world have now started to pay attention to the lack of skilled labor to fill loads of trade jobs that, by the way, pay very well (sometimes better than four-year college degrees) and don’t have big student loans to pay back! And electrician, plumber or carpenters jobs can’t be outsourced overseas!

Here’s what Mike Rowe has to say about it:


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Have You Hugged a Plumber Today?

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter


Did you know that today is Hug a Plumber Day? (Sometimes called Plumber’s Day.) Often plumbers don’t receive the credit and fame that they deserve, unless they’re Mario and Luigi and trying to save a princess. The Super Mario Brothers are the most famous plumbers, and they live in a Nintendo game.

The reality is that without plumbers, our world would be far from sanitary or pleasant. As part of our team’s commitment to getting our hands dirty in our clients’ work, we’ve had the opportunity to see plumbers at work, we’ve used their tools and we’ve heard their stories; we know that they deserve to be honored, not just hugged, today.

Plumbers do so much more than unclog drains and fix leaky faucets. It’s plumbers who install the miles of piping that make hot, cold and process water and gas utilities possible.

Did you know…


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Why Should You Ask Professional Tradesmen Questions?

QuestionMarksA professional tradesman worth his salt, whether he’s an electrician, plumber, HVAC technician or a MRO specialist,  doesn’t have a million answers on how to solve problems.

Why not ask the right questions and get engaged in a conversation?

After all, isn’t that what social media is all about — ENGAGEMENT!

One of the biggest benefits of social media is the ability to put something out there (the universe) and let those to whom it applies to identify themselves as users. Where could you corral that much experience in one place and then get input from them (it’s like shooting fish in a barrel).

This beats traditional focus groups hands down. You get a quick, more honest feedback from a broader section of your target audience.

Here are 5 reasons to ask Tradesmen questions:

  1. New application– You may have a new tool or application that you want to get feed back on.
  2. New product- what better place to do some real beta testing  to see if you’re hitting all the right points with the user.
  3. Quick tips– ask for theirs and you will be inundated with ideas.
  4. Identify new uses for products– it would sometime amaze you how these guys are using your product(not according to instruction manual).
  5. Market research. use polls and surveys to collect valuable marketing info  on the product,its applications and the competitors!

When was the last time you talked to a tradesman who didn’t want to tell you about something? Why not ask?


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