Skilled trades looking to fill jobs

When people talk about “hot jobs” these days, they typically think high-tech, but there’s a huge demand right now for skilled trades workers which, if not addressed, could make it even harder for consumers to find a good contractor at a reasonable rate.

Bill Ellison has been running his own electrical business for 30 years. He’d like to turn it over to someone else, but there aren’t many options.

“We’re going to be needing a lot of electricians here pretty soon and I’m hoping to retire myself,” said Ellison. “I can officially retire in three years but I’m going to hang on a little longer. I don’t know why the kids don’t do it. I try. I talk to them. I’ve been to a lot of high schools educating them. They just don’t seem interested.”

According to a recent study by ManpowerGroup, electricians, mechanics, butchers, bakers and chefs top the list of “Hardest Jobs to Fill” in the United States for the fourth consecutive year.

“Young people aren’t going into the trades like they used to, and this becomes a problem for homeowners because it becomes more difficult for them to find people to do work around their home and maintenance work,” said Angie’s List founder Angie Hicks.

Angie’s List has been working closely with the service industry for 20 years and it’s trying to educate youth about the many skilled trades opportunities available to them. This recent career fair in Indianapolis brought together experienced contractors and middle school students. Kids were taught what skills were required for different jobs and even what wages to expect.

“A journeyman electrician like I’m at can make $65,000 a year,” added Ellison. “That’s not too bad. And if you pay attention and put your nose to the grind, you can start your own business and hopefully make more than that.”

Angie says there are many lucrative careers in the trades and that her company is seeing no slowdown in the demand for services. She’s hoping her blue collar career fair will catch on in schools around Indiana and eventually across the country.