Join Bridget Quinn for an in-depth discussion in this video The importance of skilled trades, part of Skilled Trades: Construction Apprenticeship Foundations.
- The built environment is all around us whether you spend your day having lunch with friends and running errands or enjoying a walk in the woods. Skilled craftsmen and women played a role in getting you there. The skilled trades are occupations that require specialized training which includes a combination of on the job training and classroom instruction. These occupations do not require a college degree but utilize apprenticeship training instead. Many times apprenticeships provide associate's degrees as well as the journey card. - So, I think that the general sentiment out there is that construction workers are this rough, crude, ignorant, unknowing, uneducated group of people who does this work because they can't do anything else. That's absolutely the furthest thing from the truth. - [Woman] Construction has undergone a radical makeover throughout the years. You can forget about images about catcalling construction workers swinging hammers and laboring away in dangerous work environments. - What construction workers are is they are highly educated, they just happen to work while they were in school. So, they're educated, they go through an apprenticeship program, and they can be very professional and they know heavy mathematical concepts, physical concepts, and they're able to build and construct pretty much anything. - My professional level is the same as any other type of career. This is something I chose and I trained for four years. I worked out in the field and this is a lifelong career choice for me and I definitely, I carry myself with a lot of pride, I'm very proud to be a professional carpenter. - We have an apprentice but the journey-level card, it's an important card because it's a sense of accomplishment. You get a diploma from a university or state college, right, and that gives you the whole, I went through a program and I was able to complete. That card is a card that can be virtually taken anywhere within the 50 states because the UA is that, the 50 states plus some of the international. - This isn't a job, this is a career. It's a career that you're going to be doing for the next 30, 35 years. And it's going to support you well. - You can earn money, benefits, a living wage, maybe even a pension or retirement while you're learning and then at the end of it you are a journey-level worker and you're making an incredible living, up to six figures without any debt. I think that's fantastic. - The industry's really great. Our trade is really great because not only are you building things like schools in your community and office buildings and skyscrapers and all that and infrastructure that you drive on every day. So, that makes us feel good that we're participating in that, that we're giving back to our communities. But we're also investing what we make in our communities, we live there, we have our homes, we send our children to the local schools, colleges, etc. - The apprenticeship is the perfect way to gain the knowledge and the experience that you need for the job site. Again it's such a fast-paced environment on the job that there's not always time to learn the why's. There's some time to learn the how's and there's only just enough time to learn the what's. So, on the job site it's so fast-paced that you are constantly, okay, take this, put it there, install this, do that, and in your mind you might be thinking why am I doing it this way? How am I going to do this better? How can I do this better? - The evolution of building materials, technology, and safety protocols has created a construction site today that involves advanced building methods and a safety culture that permeates throughout the industry. We live in a world where our communities depend on healthcare, working and learning environments, transportation and infrastructure, and commerce. But we are facing a big dilemma. The construction industry is confronted with a workforce that's retiring in droves and yet we find ourselves with an emerging workforce that has had little to no exposure to the potentials of a career in the trades. - It's not just a job, it's a career and that's what we focus on so we do a lot of outreach to community organizations, high school career fairs, and get a little bit of hands on. - As far as outreach is concerned, we spend a lot of time and money trying to advertise and visit schools or have schools come through our facilities to see exactly what we do here. And it is life changing, right, the opportunities that nobody knows about. There are opportunities in all crafts and apprenticeship programs. - [Woman] If you think about the skilled trades, nothing else can really happen without them so the building that we're in today was built by a variety of craftspeople all contributing to make the building go up. If you think about the roads that you drive on, the bridges you cross every day, those are all built by skilled tradespeople. So, if you don't have those structures in place, you don't have a place to work, you don't have a place to go to school, you don't have a place to go and get medical care. So, we're very vital to the communities that we live and work in. - An increasingly diverse population has opened up a whole new world of possibilities as advancements in equity and inclusion have been made. - Anybody can see it's just about putting a mindset that you want to do this. - [Men] We are definitely seeing more women enter the industry each and every day and they put in just as much work or just as hard of work as men do. - Huge strides have been taken to promote apprenticeship opportunities to communities that have historically been underrepresented in construction. So, to ensure that we have a workforce that will continue to build our environments and maintain our existing infrastructure, it is critical that all members of our communities are exposed to the rewarding careers that construction has to offer. - It's a very satisfying, gratifying feeling when you're walking away from a building and you have a lot of pride in what you do. My kids get tired of me pointing out buildings that I've done but then, you know, when I'm gone they'll remember the buildings that I'd done.