Those of us in the alarm business know about the difficulty finding skilled technicians.
And we’re not alone.
Many plumbing, heating and electrical companies – including those that work with low-
voltage electrics like alarm systems – have difficulty finding skilled tradespeople to fill job
openings. Fewer and fewer students today are getting the vocational training needed to
fill these positions.
Part of the problem is that vocational training is not a priority in our country. Attitudes
about skilled blue-collar jobs have changed. Not that long ago, learning a trade was a
path to a great career with a good salary and excellent benefits. Today, however, many
people feel that learning a trade is not as fulfilling or prestigious as obtaining a four-year
For the past few decades, our education system has pushed the idea that most high
school students should to go on to a four-year college. While a college education is
never a bad thing, it can come at a cost. Student loan debt has skyrocketed. Many
college graduates now find themselves facing decades of sizable student loan
payments. And with so many young people graduating with college degrees, many can’t
find a job in their field. How many college graduates you know have found themselves
having to move back in with mom and dad because they can’t find a job that pays a
Not only are young people uninterested in going into skilled trades, but the existing
workforce is aging. As more and more baby boomers retire, there are not nearly enough
skilled workers ready to fill those jobs. With the unemployment rate at a 50-year low,
there are now more jobs that people looking for work. Most of those job openings don’t
require a college degree.
Someone who is working to change our country’s attitude toward skilled labor is Mike
Rowe, who made a name for himself by painting bridges, working in steel mills and
shearing alpacas as the host of the TV series Dirty Jobs.
While working alongside of steamfitters, pipefitters, farmers and brick layers he saw
“Help Wanted” signs everywhere. He quickly learned there was a real problem filling
“Our crumbling infrastructure, our widening skills gap, the disappearance of vocational
education, and the stratospheric rise in college tuition—these are not problems,” Rowe
said. “These are symptoms of what we value. And right now, we have to reconnect the
average American with the value of a skilled workforce. Only then, will the next
generation aspire to do the work at hand.”
In 2008, Rowe created the mikeroweWORKS Foundation to launch a national PR
campaign for skilled labor. His mission: To help close the skills gap by challenging the
stereotypes that discourage people from pursuing blue collar. He wants to change the
definition of a good education and a good job.
If you are interested in helping, an easy way is to use AmazonSmile for your Amazon
purchases. Choose “mikeroweWORKS Foundation as your charitable organization and
Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases. AmazonSmile is the
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