Today’s industry is facing a new and unique problem.
Demand for skilled laborers is at an all-time high with few to fill the open spots. After a huge push for students to attend college to be “successful,” the economy now has an over-saturation of college graduates and a drought of skilled laborers. For high school students interested in college, the process isn’t easy necessarily, but it is relatively straightforward. However, students drawn to the trades have a less clear route. Even though formal apprenticeships have been around consistently since the Middle Ages, more recent times have seen a decline in their existence and many high schools don’t provide direction for how to enter the trades. Fortunately, organizations such as the National Association of the Remodeling Industry have started hosting extensive, hands-on job fairs to help tackle the national shortage in skilled laborers.
Many students interested in the trades would gain from connecting with professionals in the industry and learning more about what each field has to offer. These job fairs help bridge that gap so students can learn about job opportunities and network with potential employers as well as attend free workshops and seminars and even hold full simulated interviews with NARI contractors. The Eastern Massachusetts Chapter of the Remodeling Industry (EM NARI) hosted its first Youth Remodeling Career Day in October of 2016. Five hundred high schoolers got to check out a variety of trades with many of the exhibitors offering hands-on aspects. This October they had their third annual one with amazing turnout and even more companies manning booths and activity stations. Students got to try everything from plumbing to framing to our personal favorite – dry ice blasting! The event provided a unique and beneficial opportunity for students to not only engage with industry veterans, but also gain exposure to new trades and job opportunities they might not have experienced before.
Ultimately, one type of career isn’t better than another, but the emphasis needs to be on matching students to careers that will both fulfill them and give them a career path to success. Diversity is key to maintaining a healthy and balanced economy. Right now the trades are feeling the disparity, but things are looking up. We’re excited to be a part of the drive to re-establish the trades as a viable career and help offer options for students interested in getting involved.
To learn more about this great event and program, check out their page.