Big topic of discussion these days with friends who have kids graduating from college: how to be supportive but at the same time make it clear to their kids that they need to get serious about a job search. A friend who lives by NYU mentioned to me recently that whenever he sees groups of students, dollar signs flash before his eyes, a group of 5 is equivalent to $1Million (i.e. $200,000 per kid in education cost).
And yet, if I bring up skilled trades or some other non-college career path, everyone is aghast. Perhaps because I am European and all the men in my family were skilled tradespeople, I see the trades as a desirable profession and a great way to build a business.
In NYC, trying to get a plumber or an electrician is more difficult than finding a doctor or a lawyer. My plumber, for example, charges $150 for a 15 minute job which works out to be $600 an hour or about $1MM annually. Not bad in my book. And he’s young and he’s cool and he’s got a skill that will be forever in demand.
As a country, it would be in our best interest to rebrand the skilled trades so that more kids and their families see the trades as hands-on-intelligence as well as a creative outlet for skilled craftspeople and artisans.
See below for some interesting background and sources for skilled trades and apprenticeship programs.