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Never has the need for skilled workers been so strong. In this new world of uncertainty, learning a skilled trade promises one of the most reliable means of making a living — particularly in light of high youth unemployment levels in the U.S. and the debt-ridden college route (the average total cost for a 4-year degree during the 2020 academic year is $122,000).

It’s time the skilled trades receive the attention they deserve. From the Amazon delivery driver to the hospital worker and local bus driver, COVID-19 has shone a light on the essential services people in the U.S. depend on. The same is true for skilled trades — such as HVAC, plumbing, electrical and solar — all of which have been deemed essential services by the Federal Government. 

The Good News… Millennials, Generation Z and others are showing a renewed interest in essential skilled trades jobs. The high-paying, stable and long-term career opportunities they offer are attractive in the fast- changing and uncertain post-COVID environment.

However, there is danger that the current apprenticeship and vocational training infrastructure isn’t sufficient to meet new demand, despite legislation such as the Perkins Act. Many U.S. apprenticeships don’t begin until the ages of 26 or 27 and are ‘untethered from the labor market,’ according to Robert Lerman of the Urban Institute. Less than 5% of U.S. high school students are currently enrolled in some type of vocational program, compared to 55% in Germany. Likewise, many European countries focus on apprenticeships and workplace mentoring at an earlier age, closely matching skills, jobs and careers. All of this has an impact on company productivity (an area that will be crucial in the post-COVID-19 environment). 

These newcomers must be able to find the apprenticeships they want and deserve. The BlueCollar Recruiter & Virtual Trade School is here to help. No Classrooms. No Pressure.

+Millennials and Gen Z currently make up 24% of the U.S. labor force

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