Skilled Trades Disappearing?
In this day and age, it seems that the American worker is on the verge of extinction. The interest in extremely necessary professions has waned in the last few decades. At Intermountain Safety Shoe we understand the value of hard work and the need to introduce the future generations of workers to these valuable careers. We offer the finest safety shoes and steel toed boots to the hard working men and women of Colorado Springs, Denver, and Golden. We understand that there is nothing worse than a pair of boots that make you miserable at then end of the day. We are not some big box store that stacks our steel toes on the shelf and expects you to figure it out yourself. When you come into our store, we will take the time to work with you and figure out exactly what you need. We know that your job dictates the type of boot that you need. For example, you are not going to want a boot that performs well out in the oil field when you are in a factory setting, just like you are not going to want a steel toed rubber boot for ranch work. We know what you need because we have been serving the needs of the American worker for more than 40 years. We depend on the men and women that get their boots from us and that is why we support expending the exposure young people have to the skilled trades professions.
It Starts With the Kids
In schools these days, the main focus is on what is referred to as STEM skills. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. While this curriculum benefits every student no matter what field they ultimately choose to pursue, common trade skills are not a big part of the educational system anymore. Shop classes have become a one time thing and gone are the days when the students tore down engines in an automotive class. The bottom line is the interest in trades is just not a prevalent as it once was. There are many critics of the educational system that point to the lack of funding and all sorts of other issues as to why these classes are not offered. The sad truth is, we will probably never know the exact reason why the industrial arts have disappeared from American schools. However the impact is being felt in the trades industry and a renewed effort has slowly taken hold to reach young people.
What Went Wrong?
Well there are just about as many opinions about that question as there are open jobs in the trades, but nobody can seem to agree just what it is. Some say that the youth of today do not want to work hard, but of course the older generation has been saying that about the generation after them since the beginning of time. It is easy to find young people that are willing to work hard and follow through, so the generation gap is not a valid argument. Some say that trade work does not pay as well as “skilled” jobs that require a college education, but many trades offer equal, if not better, wages. The arguments could go on and on as to why there is a shortage of skilled trades workers but again, we may never know the true reason. One possible cause for the decline in interest is that children are much more disconnected from the world in which the trades happen. Kids spend much more time on electronics than working with wood or sewing, and they tend to be raised in a much more urban setting. This can be viewed as a good or bad thing but the bottom line is, our world has changed and that is the new normal
The Myth of Trade Work
Trade work by nature has gotten a bad rap and many still view workers as unskilled, unintelligent, and uneducated. While these three characteristics may describe a minority of individuals in the trades, they are, by and large, a complete fallacy. In fact, some of the most naturally intelligent people have chosen to work in the trades, and that is more than we can say for our government. Trade work requires a large degree of focus and self awareness that is not a part of many other career paths.
Luckily, there are a large group out there that are breaking the myths that trade workers are unskilled. These men and women are accessible and shed light on how awesome a job in the trades can be and they can be found right on your television. There are fishermen, fabricators, mechanics, treehouse builders, and all sorts of other skilled trades represented on cable these days. This has offered more accessibility for this sort of work and may be responsible for an increase of interest in the trades. This kind of exposure is exactly what is needed to rejuvenate interest in the trades. It may be the beginning of a renaissance period for trades like construction, iron work, and mechanics. The way that these personalities are portrayed on TV can be somewhat dramatic but one thing's for certain, they make some cool things. There is a particular show in which contestants make knives from scrap pieces of metal. The demand for blacksmiths has gone down considerably since automation has taken over the metalworking trade. But here we are watching an hour of skilled smiths pound out gorgeous knives with just their hands.
It Is Up To Us
As trade industry professionals, it is up to us to inspire the next generation of skilled trade workers. There is always someone on the jobsite that can use a bit of help. If you have been involved with a certain industry for a while, a young person could learn a lot from your experience. For instance, if you have been a plumber for many years, you could implement a mentorship program in order to get new workers involved in the profession. In the trades, we are losing experienced men and women at an alarming rate and there is nobody to step up and take over for them. If you are one of the individuals that are interested in a career in the trades, please check out our blog next week when we look deeper at how to break into the trades. Regardless of whether you got into your profession through dumb luck or skilled training, the industry needs you to help find new workers to ensure the future. And don't worry, Intermountain Safety Shoe will always be here for your safety footwear needs. We look forward to seeing you and urge you to be safe on the job. From one hard working company to another, thanks again for your business.