America is in the middle of a serious skills shortage. Jobs for skilled trade people are plentiful, but the people with the qualifications to fill them are definitively not. According to a report produced by Deloitte, a critical labor shortage affecting the skilled trade industry will leave approximately 2.4 million skilled trade positions unfilled by 2028, creating a potential economic impact of more than $2.5 trillion.
There’s a Catch 22, however, as a burgeoning movement to make more “Made in the U.S.A.” products would only exacerbate the issue. If America and the manufacturing industry want to bring back more production, the effort to increase the skilled workforce will be key. Vocational and trade school involvement in that effort will also be key.
For the right student, attending a trade school is often a more affordable and more efficient option than attending a university or college. With unemployment at an all-time high due to the Covid-19 pandemic and more skilled trades people being deemed essential, now is the perfect time to explore a career path in the skilled trades.
The top 10
StrataTech Education Group, a firm that focuses on the acquisition, growth and development of schools with technical career education programs, has compiled a list of the top 10 reasons to consider attending a trade school in order to navigate in today’s labor market.
1. Ever-increasing demand for skilled trades people:
The skilled trades industry will continue to experience a labor shortage as demand grows. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the skilled trades industry is projected to grow 10 percent from 2018 to 2028, creating about 704,000 new jobs – and that’s just for construction and extraction occupations, a subsection of the overall skilled trades industry.
2. Affordable alternative to traditional universities:
With tuition prices and student loan debt on the rise, skilled trades education provides students with a more affordable option to pursue a meaningful career that offers financial security, accessibility and prompt return on investment.
3. Receive hands-on training for immediate job placement:
Students receive hands-on training and authentic industry experience while in school, which helps prepare them for immediate employment following graduation. Due to the critical need for skilled trades workers, employers collaborate with trade schools to recruit directly from graduating classes.
4. Lucrative career opportunities:
Skilled trades education equips individuals with marketable expertise for an industry with a critical labor shortage. As such, a variety of skilled trades career opportunities offer high salaries. For example, highly skilled welders can earn anywhere from $50,000 to $200,000 a year.
5. Smaller, focused classroom sizes:
Unlike traditional universities, trade schools offer smaller classroom sizes so students can benefit from an engaging and focused environment as well as one-on-one learning with the instructors.
6. Complete schooling in a short time:
Unlike four-year universities, technical programs are often completed within two years or less. StrataTech Education campuses offer programs that can be completed in seven months.
7. Unique travel opportunities:
Many skilled trades careers offer high-paying job opportunities for those willing to travel. For example, welders often travel to remote places like Canada and Alaska to install new pipelines. NASCAR racing teams hire welders to travel with the pit crews to construct and repair custom equipment.
8. Investment in a future:
Mastering welding, pipefitting or electrical application is a skillset an individual will possess for life. Investing in a skilled trades career provides a lifetime of lucrative and flexible opportunities that align with a variety of lifestyles.
9. Perfecting a craft:
A great advantage of trade schools is past students are always welcome back to connect with industry-leading instructors to expand their skillset and grow as a skilled trades professional.
10. Essential for the economy:
Finally, skilled trades people are essential for economic development and with hundreds of thousands of available jobs, these workers will continue to thrive in their industries despite the economic climate.
StrataTech’s expertise in regard to the value of a trade school education is deep-rooted. Its Tulsa Welding School subsidiary was founded in 1949 with campuses in Houston, Tulsa, Okla., and Jacksonville, Fla. According to StrataTech’s website, the Tulsa Welding School is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges and is a member of the American Welding Society and the Association of Private Schools, Colleges and Universities.