Taking the Trade School Path

Upcoming high school graduates are considering their future.  The question is not, “What profession do I want?” but instead, “What professions require a short-term education to achieve a high-paying career in great demand?” Bypassing the possibility of an expensive advanced education, which results in a chance of substantial debt and unemployment, students want to know an alternative path. One solution to consider is a trade school. By eliminating the classes, which provide university students a well-rounded education, trade schools place students on a fast track to specialize in one field.  Rather than taking notes in a lecture style class environment, technical or vocational schools use demonstrations and a hands-on learning approach in a small class.  With the same cost as one year of college, participants can elect to choose a path in construction, mechanical repair, industrial work, technology, or health care to receive a certificate, diploma, or associate’s degree in 10 months or just two years.  And, the news for trade schools continues to get better!

The Larger Picture

Roughly 70 percent of the United States workforce does not possess a college degree; therefore, the need is high for applications of software developers, computer network architects, dental hygienists, electricians, electronics engineers, heavy equipment operators, masonry workers, nurses, plumbers, and technology specialists.  What may surprise even you is the preceding list comprises just a small number of the highest paid trade school careers!  Factoring in the profession can offer a self-employment possibility to create a business or reach the promotion of a higher level within the field by becoming a manager.

The Mike Rowe Initiative

Described as an American television host and narrator, Mike Rowe is often associated with the Discovery Channel program Dirty Jobs or the podcast, “The Way I Heard It:  True Tales for the Curious Mind with a Short Attention Span.”  He is one boisterous advocate for the future tradesmen and the companies, who seek employees to hire.  Through his TV series, Rowe traveled to every state to work with skilled workers who, as he says, “help keep our polite society humming along.  They were individuals, who found an opportunity where no one else thought to look. They were entrepreneurs running successful businesses. They were happy people who managed to figure out a positive work-life balance. They didn’t resemble the unflattering, blue-collar workers often portrayed in the media. This misperception resulted in an undeniable disparity between available skilled jobs and the unemployed local population.” In seeing “Help Wanted” signs, mainly when unemployment consumed news headlines, our society didn’t, and still doesn’t, have a trained workforce standing by or willing to fill the positions that exist.

An Informative Website

Rowe started an initiative to launch the Mike Rowe Works Foundation to promote the jobs of skilled labor.  The website mikeroweworks.org features a lofty list of resources from news, job opportunities throughout the United States, and a chance to receive a “Work Ethic Scholarship.  The focus is not on grades but to find an aspiring worker, who values “the importance of work ethic, personal responsibility, delayed gratification, and a positive attitude.”

A List of Advocates

Similar to advocates like Mike Rowe, there are countless others, who are on a mission to change the stereotype of working a trade.  You will find them in self-employed and large businesses, classrooms, family gatherings, household members, and family friends.  Start listening.  Conversations will include local news of local businesses, who experience long-term shortages of qualified people.  Students should capitalize on the moment to ask questions and talk to the very people who can assist in broadening their prospects.

The trade school momentum is at a high!  Today’s students can grab hold and sail high toward a great career and prosperity!



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