WorkforceNOW® One Year Later
We Want Students to Understand That They Have Options
By Shonna Cardello, YBA President and WorkforceNOW Committee Chair
What We Know
- 62% of firms struggle to fill important skilled trade positions in the U.S. The construction industry is facing a growing skills gap that impacts everything from our infrastructure as a nation right down to a local homeowner’s ability to affordably hire an electrician or a plumber.
- More young people than ever before are unable to find jobs in their field of study and face mountains of student debt. Yet, only 9% of U.S. high school students plan to pursue a career in the trades.
What is WorkforceNOW®?
The York Builders Association launched the WorkforceNOW® initiative in October of 2018 in response to the skilled labor shortage that is at unprecedented levels. Currently, the gap between open jobs in the trades and workers available to step into those jobs is about 1.1 million jobs wide. The number of available jobs will only continue to increase as Baby Boomers retire, putting the estimated number of skilled trade jobs available by 2028 at 3 million!
With workers in high demand, the salaries for skilled trade jobs continue to increase. Couple this with the fact that many of these jobs offer on-the-job training with little or no education expense and it’s easy to see how a young person entering the trades today could ultimately come out ahead of a college-educated counterpart. Not only are salaries and opportunities expected to increase, but many employers offer additional incentives along with the potential for advancement and management roles as workers gain experience.
The mission of YBA’s WorkforceNOW® is to shine a light on the endless opportunities that exist in the skilled trades and put systems in place to help connect schools, students, parents, mentors and companies in our community in support of rebuilding this critical workforce.
We believe that by inspiring a new generation to explore career opportunities in the trades, we can begin to fill the enormous need and at the same time help students, parents & teachers understand that college is not the only path to a fulfilling and financially secure career. So that’s exactly what we set out to do.
Since the program’s launch one year ago, we’ve been busy growing awareness of the issues and our initiatives, developing materials, information and connections to help increase exposure, raising funds, planning and executing a 2nd Annual Construction Career Days event, building community relationships and more.
College is not for everyone and there are literally thousands of high-paying jobs that do not require a college degree. There are employers right here in York County offering on-the-job training, paid apprenticeships, and highly sought-after skill sets that provide an excellent alternative to college and long-term student loan debt.
As we celebrate one year. We’ll keep finding new ways to tell the story and to educate students, parents, and teachers about the fact that they have options. Excellent, stable, rewarding & lucrative options!