50-60% of our (USA) welders are going to hit retirement age in the next 20 years. By some estimates, 2/3 of our plumbers will retire in the same time frame. I've seen numbers stating that 1/2 of our skilled electricians are going to be in their 60's in 10-15 years. Then you have construction workers, engine mechanics, diesel mechanics, machinists, concrete workers etc who are barely being replaced at attrition levels.

FYI, plumbers with 10+ years experience get $20-$30 an hour out here. Welders can make $40/hr and if you have a specialty like stainless steel, underwater, rigging etc you can often double that on big infrastructure projects. I know a guy who does welding in sewers who make 200K a year, for example. Isn't the goal to get people into good paying jobs?

We need engineers, and yea, STEM is important, but when kids ask me what to do I tell them to shadow a trade worker for a day. Shadow several in different fields, see what they do and find out what they have to do to get certifications. Find one that you are sort of interested in and feel like you can get good at the skills needed and join that union to get into their training programs. You may get paid to train or get government assistance if you complete the program, there are a lot of people to learn from, these jobs are always going to need people willing to do the work and plumbers are not going to be outsourced to India or China.

The point that I think I am trying to make is that the insane push to get every kid into college is dangerous, foolish, and wrong. We need trades people, and we need to stop shitting on people who do not have degrees.

posted 1865 days ago