Subcontractors and skilled trades: we need young people to enter the construction industry!
By Lorianna Kastrop, Vice President, The Kastrop Group, Inc. Architects
You want your son or daughter to go to college, get a degree and enter the workforce with a high-paying job. But what if they enjoy hands-on activities and are not motivated by classroom work? Can they still enter the workforce with a high-paying job? The answer is yes.
The construction industry lacks incoming apprentice workers in all of the skilled trades, including carpenters, electricians, plumbers, framers, heavy equipment operators, masons, glaziers, solar system installers, and so on. I’m not a representative of the trade unions, but I have heard that they are trying to attract young people to their ranks. These jobs are skilled work, and usually are highly paid.
Many construction companies would like to hire young people with computer skills. Millennials are comfortable working with mobile information technology platforms, such as laptops and tablets, and are adept at using computers for many daily activities. In a similar way, most firms now use cloud computing and digital files instead of huge sets of paper drawings (or blueprints for those of us old enough to remember). Sophisticated software is in use for the design and construction team on projects of all sizes. Young tradespeople can combine their computer skills with their hands-on skills to become the top subcontractors of the future.
I’m a little bit outside my area of expertise here, because we are an architectural firm, not a construction firm. But the need is apparent to us when our projects go out to bid, and we know that the excellent general contractors that we work with are always looking for new employees willing to join the construction industry and be trained in the highly technical building trades of the future. For the employees in the skilled trades there is great satisfaction in seeing your work come to life in the physical world. The sense of accomplishment in creating something and watching others use and enjoy it is something many office jobs cannot provide.
We encourage young people to consider the building industry when looking at possibilities for the future. There are good jobs for skilled tradespeople in all areas of the country. If the work interests you, go for it! Here is a useful list of construction trades: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_construction_trades with links to more specifics.