This article originally appeared in the Tennessean
Go Build Tennessee helps build awareness of the trades while recruiting a new generation of skilled tradespersons for the commercial, residential and civil infrastructure construction industries.
Latest statistics show that over the next three years Tennessee will have more than 315,000 job openings in the trades, and that’s good news for students across Tennessee who desire a pathway to success coming out of high school, yet do not have a desire to attend a four-year school.
While college is a great path for many students, there are several rewarding career paths that do not require a four-year degree, nor require young people to take out student loans in order to be trained and qualified for a job in the trades.
Seven out of 10 jobs in the trades require less than a four-year degree and more than half of trade professionals have an average salary above $60,000.
There’s also a growing demand for people to enter the trades as more than 50% of those in the trades are estimated to retire in the next 15 years and the average age for someone in the trades is 47 years old. And, for every five people retiring, there is currently only one apprentice entering the trades.
The opportunities for training in the trades are endless
There’s even better news for those considering a career in the trades – you can start earning a paycheck on day one and your employer will oftentimes pay for your training through a trade or technical school and some even offer apprenticeships and on the job training.
The Associated Builders and Contractors of Greater Tennessee operate two Construction Trades Academies – with one location in Nashville and one in Knoxville where they offer training for electric, carpentry, plumbing, HVAC and masonry. Training and licensing can also occur through one of our state’s 24 Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCATs) and 13 Community Colleges.
The opportunities for training in the trades are endless. Careers include boilermakers, carpenters, electricians, drone operators, crane operators, HVAC technicians, masons, ironworkers, road builders, home builders, surveyors and welders – just to name a few.
And, careers in the trades aren’t just for those graduating high school. Many people more established in their current jobs simply desire a career change into the trades. The trades are also a great opportunity for veterans who are looking for another career after serving our country in the military. For career changers and veterans alike, oftentimes your prior job experience, interests or hobbies might translate well into several careers in the trades.
We must raise public awareness about the trades
Our state continues to lead the nation in both our booming economy and improving our education system to help prepare students for success. With a new student-based funding formula, we expect more dedicated funds for expanded CTE programs in middle and high schools across our state so students have more exposure to the trades and a greater ability to graduate high school with real world experience that can help them know their interests and also attain a job in the trades.
Our organizations, the Associated General Contractors of Tennessee and the Associated Builders and Contractors of Greater Tennessee, along with Associated Builders and Contractors of West Tennessee, the Home Builders Association of Tennessee and the Tennessee Road Builders Association and companies from across all our organizations and industries support a non-profit, Go Build Tennessee.