The stigma of skilled trade work

Written by
Peter Dunn
skilled labor

As Americans, we are obsessed with college. Hell, I'm as guilty as anyone. I mention saving for college at least once a week on this blog alone. College is a great opportunity that can lead to many exciting and lucrative career options, but it doesn't always. A degree doesn't guarantee a job, just as not having a degree doesn't guarantee low wages and poor job satisfaction. Skilled trade jobs make up a huge sector of jobs in the US, yet training for these jobs has gone out of style in the last couple of decades. Which is causing a huge problem. 53% of skilled laborers were over the age of 45 in 2012. And even though "middle skill" jobs account for 54% of the US labor market, only 44% of US workers are trained to the level required for the jobs. Herein lies the skilled laborer gap.

The stigma of skilled labor is something my buddy Jack Hope knows a lot about. He's a plumber with a Master's Degree, but he doesn't see this seeming contradiction as an issue. To him skilled labor is where the best jobs are. And now he's part of a solution to train young people in a specific trade.

Jack and I had a really interesting conversation about skilled trade jobs, the myth of a college degree equaling success, and apprenticeships as a means of educating on The Pete the Planner Radio Show on WIBC this week. Check it out.

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