Schaedler Yesco blog post
Greg ShickIt's Time We Encourage and Celebrate Skilled Tradesmen
  
by Greg Shick, Territory Manager, Schaedler Yesco


Anyone in the trades knows that labor shortage is a big issue. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) there are currently 143,000 vacant construction positions nationwide. In fact, a recent survey by the NAHB revealed that 69 percent of its members were experiencing delays in completing projects on time due to a shortage of qualified workers, while other jobs were lost altogether. A 2015 survey by the Associated General Contractors of America showed that 60% of respondents cited Electricians as the hardest group to hire, the fourth hardest category overall.

We need to encourage skilled tradesmen and celebrate their career decision.

I was recently asked to be the guest speaker for the graduating class at Triangle Tech in DuBois, PA and I told them emphatically, “You made a good choice!”

Over the last 30 years, America has convinced itself that the best path for most people is an expensive, four-year degree. Sadly, our society has devalued any other path to success and happiness. Community colleges, trade schools, and apprenticeship programs are labeled as “alternative.”

I told them that although most jobs will face enhancements in technology, the skilled labor that is needed in construction cannot be completely replaced by robotics. Robots can’t direct construction or extraction and they can’t communicate project details or nuances. Robotics can’t fabricate parts, do repairs or install without a skilled craftsman. Technology and robotics are merely tools directed by a trained user.

The role of an electrical professional has changed dramatically in the last decade with IoT being centric to nearly every project. Everything is connected and controlled by a small pocket computer we call a cell phone. The job isn’t just to get power from point A to point B. It’s making life easier, more efficient and more productive for end users with new controls, alarming and services. Sure, pulling wire isn’t necessarily the most glamorous part of the job…but it’s what that wire will do and the plan behind it that is what is the really exciting.

Those of us already in the trade understand all this. We need to get out there and share our story with those who don’t. Celebrity, Mike Rowe, of Dirty Jobs fame, has done a great job of supporting the cause. But we need local efforts too.

At Schaedler Yesco we support our local trade schools with various programs. But we also work with groups who start even younger by encouraging high school students to check out careers in the trades. We need to help correct the misperception that skilled trades aren’t as valuable or important as institutional earned degrees.

Not sure how you can help? Call your local builder association. Contact the IEC or IBEW. Form a mentorship program with your local school district. Be a role model for the industry. When successful members of our industry talk about what they love, it can only help spread the viability of this career choice..

Greg Shick is the Territory Manager for the North Central West region of Schaedler Yesco, covering the DuBois, St. Marys and State College branches in the mountains of north central PA.

Prior to joining SYD in 2015, Greg was the Electrical Customer Service Inside Sales Technician at Gasbarre Products. Greg has worked all over North America and the world installing and repairing OEM equipment. His travels included 4 trips to China, Brazil and South Africa.

Greg lives outside of DuBois PA with his wife Stephanie. He enjoys spending time with his adult children Kali, Danielle and Dakota, and his granddaughter Samantha.

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