In NPR’s new series focused on millennials in America, one article highlights why millennials should be considering a career in the trades. In the article they address the perks of a career in construction which are apparent to those already in the industry, but not necessarily understood by many people outside of it, including the cost of the degree, job openings, starting salaries and more.
Not Everyone Needs a Four-Year College Degree
Although the unemployment rate is nearly twice as high for Americans with a high school diploma versus those with a four-year college diploma, that doesn’t mean it’s either a four-year college or nothing. Jobs are open for skilled workers with training in the trades, and some pay more than the average college graduate makes.
In addition, choosing to get trained in a trades costs a lot less than tuition to a four-year school. While many college students are paying $30,000 or more per year and drowning in loans, students in the trades will spend closer to $2,500 a year.
The Construction Industry is Hiring
“The baby-boom workers are retiring and leaving lots of openings for millennials,” said Anthony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce
He says there are 600,000 jobs for electricians in the country today, and about half of those will open up over the next decade. Carnevale says it is a big opportunity for that millennial generation born between 1980 and 2000. With so many boomers retiring from the trades, the U.S. is going to need a lot more pipe-fitters, nuclear power plant operators, carpenters, welders, utility workers — the list is long. But the problem is not enough young people are getting that kind of training.
A Job in the Trades Pays Well
The article cites that on average, people with a four-year college degree make more money than those with a two-year degree or less, but that those averages lie. Carnevale says that salaries for hourly workers at places like RadioShack or Target get lumped into the same group as master carpenters and electricians.
Carnevale says, for example, the average electrician makes $5,000 a year more than the average college graduate.
Read the full article on NPR.