Over the past few months I have spoke with owners and managers from many trades about their hiring practice and their ability to do so. To name just a few trades builders, plumbers, electricians and HVAC companies. The answers that I got were very disturbing, but expected, especially taking into consideration the present state of the economy.
I also learned that several of those same companies have had to put people on reduced hours or total layoff. But why, I asked? The answers seemed to be consistent, either not enough work or their customers don’t have the flexible money to spend or they only want to make repairs to their old and inefficient equipment. With that said, it’s easy to get an answer of NO when it comes to hiring.
We also have veterans that are returning from foreign lands after serving in our military who say they, too, can’t find a job. I also know students and or parents who have spent several thousand dollars on student loans at technical schools to learn a skill in some of the above mentioned trades and also in hopes of finding a job working in a trade.
I have also been talking with trade school graduates. One young man that I spoke with said that after spending $42,000 for a trade related education, a year knocking on doors and sending resumes, he has yet to get a position in his field. As a result, he has taken a night job at one of the big box stores as a dock worker making $9.00 per hour.
I know that our mechanical trades are not the only ones struggling. Recently I read that nationally, 62 percent of the May/June 2102 graduates will not find work. So what’s the answer? Should we just give up? I say no way!
My hope is that company owners will find ways to diversify and grow in other fields, which in turn will require new hires. Perhaps people will someday be able to collect full Social Security benefits at 65 regardless of the DOB. Owners may also try reaching out to the Veterans Administration to see if there are any ‘Hire a Veteran” funds available. What about work share programs that might off-set wages for existing employees and new hires?
The real sad picture is when seniors that should be retired are still turning wrenches or working at Wal-Mart or McDonald’s. But why? Many of them will tell you that their long-term savings and investments give so little in return that they can’t keep up with their cost of living needs.
If you have doubts, go to your local bank and ask how much interest you can get on $100,000 CD or Money Market or just look at the poster board that every bank so proudly displays showing their interest rates. Because so many seniors returning to work or working longer, the young people who graduated struggle to find positions in the trades or general employment.
I also recently heard of a company that wants all their service technician’s to get CDLs. You don’t have to be a Harvard graduate to figure where this is going. My real hope is that the building trade comes back to life on a larger scale because this, in my opinion, is the real life blood of our economy. This in turn will lead to the hiring and the rehiring of our tradesmen, trade graduates and veterans.