Skipping School: Companies Seek Skilled Trade Workers

Despite decades of educators, politicians and parents pushing the idea that everyone should go to college, evidence continues to mount to the contrary. With the economy soaring, companies are facing a shortage of skilled trade workers---electricians, welders, plumbers, builders, etc.---in fields that don't require a college degree. The Texas Public Policy Foundation recently published a report called College For All Doesn't Work For All. The piece highlights growing opportunities in skilled trades while the average college student graduates with more than $28,000 in debt, and nearly half of college undergraduates don't even finish school within six years.

Those opportunities are especially prevalent in Texas. "When you look at construction, which is always continuing to expand here in Texas, there's just so many opportunities for individuals to go straight to work, and earn while they learn," says Nicholas Morgan, president of Houston-based Adaptive Construction Solutions.

Morgan tells KTRH his company offers entry-level apprenticeships in multiple areas. "For our program, we don't have a single position that pays under $14 an hour starting, and often these are individuals who just graduated high school," he says. "We also have an HR apprenticeship for our office that has eight apprentices...most of them came straight out of high school, they started at $14 an hour, and within two years they're making $22 to $24 an hour."

For high school students or recent graduates who aren't sure about their future and not inclined to take traditional college courses, there are better options than piling up student debt and getting a dead-end degree. "An apprenticeship is something that everybody should consider, especially when they're trying to figure out how do I go get a paycheck while I gain a skill," says Morgan.

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