“Consider the reality of today’s job market. We have a massive skills gap. Even with record unemployment, millions of skilled jobs are unfilled because no one is trained or willing to do them.” -Mike Rowe
Mike Rowe definitely has a point. There are a lot of misconceptions about skilled labor today – that it’s a career consolation prize or for people not right for college. It’s time to debunk those myths, and help students understand that skills trades are valuable and necessary in today’s world. At Moss, we’re here to help you debunk some of the myths for your students (and clear up a few myths you may have).
Myth #1 – Students are Not Enrolling in CTE Programs
From 3D Printing to Mechatronics to Hydraulics and Pneumatics programs, career and technical educational positions are in high demand. Whether students are learning skills in a high school CTE program, transitioning to college coursework, or are workers looking for more advanced skills to further their careers, skilled trades are in high demand, especially in the heartland where manufacturing drives the workforce.
Myth #2 – Skilled Labor jobs = Factory Work
Skilled labor can mean factory work, yes, but the skills needed to excel in these positions are also required for work in agriculture, aerospace, civil engineering, mechanical drafting, medical technicians, nuclear technicians, robotics engineers and many more. With the right training and skill set, a technical degree can definitely take students off the factory floor.
Myth #3 – Students can’t make a living with Skilled Lab positions
Contrary to popular belief, skilled labor positions are some of the most high-paying entry-level positions today. People with the right skills are in high demand and can command an impressive starting salary upon graduation. Take a look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook for the following positions, or search a field of study here.
Environmental Engineering Technicians
Industrial Engineering Technicians
Myth #4 – All Skilled Labor Jobs are the Same
Skilled labor positions range from construction workers, plumbers, and electricians to robotics operators, mechatronics operators to engineers. Skilled labor is an umbrella term that blankets a very broad field. The variety of work is endless; and the skills are transferable. For example, a wind energy technician has mastered skills in hydraulics and pneumatics, and can turn around and use those skills in construction, agriculture, machine tools, wood processing, offshore, or aerospace fields (to name a few). A student can create their own path once they have mastered these 21st century skills.
Myth #5 – Once a Student Learns a Skill, they are “Stuck” for the Rest of their Careers
When a student learns a skill set, there is a lot of mobility to apply those skills to other fields as the need arises. In the case of the wind energy technician, above, a student has almost endless opportunities for high-paying positions in a variety of fields.
Myth #6 – Skilled Labor Programs are Expensive for the College and the Student
Though some programs require a greater initial investment, high schools and colleges can provide programs that are low-cost and highly effective. From Forklift Operation to pneumatics training, simulation programs provide an affordable alternative to other training programs. When looking for new classroom tools and curriculum, it’s helpful to look for certification programs that offer certifications so you can rest assured that your students are learning the right job-ready skills.
Do you offer the right curriculum to help your students succeed? Take this 6 Question Quiz to find out:
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