School Days

I may have talked about this before in my blog, but the need to educate students about joining the trades as a viable career is one worth mentioning again. I serve as the editorial director of this magazine, and four others, all of which serve the trades. From auto glass technicians to window film and door and window installers, all industries are struggling to find labor. This isn’t a secret. But why aren’t local high schools doing more to attract students to these trades?

I talked to the owner of a local window and door retailer recently and he told me his company had to turn down $402,000 worth of work last year because he didn’t have installers to do the jobs. This same company currently has approximately $800,000 worth of work on the books. And they aren’t able to sell additional jobs as they were already backed up 14 weeks. Who is going to wait that long for their new windows to be installed? No one.

This individual and I then talked about how high school counselors don’t encourage students to join the trades anymore.

“That’s their job,” he said, a point to which I wholeheartedly agree.

I mean they may not hear it from their parents, who instead may be pushing them toward a four-year institution. So when planning for the future the high school counselor is often it.

My daughter is a high school senior and I attended senior night recently for the wrestling team, as she serves as the team manager. All the seniors come out with their parents and an announcer proclaims where each student will go to college. For one young gentleman, the pronouncement was that he would be studying to be an HVAC technician and I think he got the most applause. I think it was partly because it was a refreshing change.

One person I have admired for years now is Mike Rowe, you know the “Dirty Jobs guy.” I think of him as the “trade school guy” and love that for five years he has offered a work ethic scholarship that offers money to those interested in skilled jobs training.

I would love if we could all come together and promote our trade, and others, to students who may not be interested in the traditional four-year degree. If any of you have ever brought on an apprentice (perhaps a younger person out of high school interested in auto glass), and helped train them, I would love to hear about it.

Now it’s time for my shameless plug. You know where a great place is to learn about the auto glass industry: Auto Glass Week™ to be held September 4-6 in Indianapolis. Do you have an apprentice, or know of a novice interested in the trade? Bring him or her with you!

I would love to hear what you all are doing in this regard. Comment here or email me at ttaffera@glass.com

See you in Indy!