Bringing the Trades to Your Community
You’ve heard contractors say it more than once: “I’m desperate for skilled workers!” But even the most diversified and active recruitment and hiring plans can fall short. We only bring in one apprentice, for example, for every four plumbers who are leaving the trades. These numbers don’t add up. So, what can you do to bring the trades into your community and start addressing this problem?
- Get Out There! Jump in! The easiest and best way to begin is by attending a career day at your local school. Start with your own kid’s school or maybe a relative’s or employee’s child’s school. Up the ante and contact your local school district about being a presenter at local career events. What good does this do? Well, it illustrates to young people that there are alternatives to college. It also helps to change the perception of the “dirty tradesman.” You’re able, through your presence, to demonstrate the proven success of a life in the trades.
- Make it Fun! When presenting, always make sure you’re honest. It doesn’t help to recruit young people if you are pitching an unrealistic dream. Also, use visual aids such as PowerPoint presentations or show-and-tell. In the trades, we are very lucky to be able to bring what we do directly into the classroom. Show the students your tools of the trade and allow them to ask direct questions about your daily activities. Throw in a presentation, and they’re sold. For example, when attending local career events, ensure that each classroom has a sink with an exposed piping system underneath. Then, split the class into two groups. Have one group go to the sink with you and explain drainage and supply. Have the second group, moderated by their instructor, handle the tools and show-and-tell items you’ve brought along. It is very engaging and way more fun than listening to another “boring presentation.”
- Build relationships! Create a relationship with guidance counselors and inform them that you are very open to them sharing your contact information. Through word-of-mouth, you will find that you are very popular within their district. Counselors are dying for diversification when presenting career paths to young people. Help them along, and show them how beneficial a life in the trades has been for you and how great it can be for their students. Always send a follow-up note or e-mail thanking them for having you at their event, and invite them to save your information for future events.
Obviously, there are many ways to penetrate society with information about a life in the trades. It is our responsibility to present the trades to our communities and illustrate to them how important the trades are in their daily lives. After all, the trades are “economy-proof” and provide excellent benefits to those committed to their profession. Don’t be afraid to share what you love!
Learn more at http://www.texaswomenintrades.com.