Trading Up

Christine Birkner
Marketing News
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Key Takeaways

  • In 2012, the average tradesperson in the United States was 56 years old and only one in three parents said that they  would encourage their children to work in a trade.
  • Trade schools are an alternative to the traditional four-year college route, but skilled trade careers need a marketing campaign.
  • Mike Rowe and Peoria, Ill.-based Caterpillar Inc. started a marketing campaign in early 2013 for skilled labor called “Profoundly Disconnected.”

While you can make a good living working in the trades, these days fewer and fewer teens and twentysomethings start down the path to become plumbers, electricians, welders or mechanics. In 2012, the average tradesperson in the United States was 56 years old and only one in three parents said that they would encourage their children to work in a trade, according to SkillsUSA, a Leesburg, Va.-based national nonprofit organization for high school and college  students who are preparing for careers in skilled service occupations.

Baby boomers make up the bulk of the manufacturing sector in terms of employment and they’re going  to be retiring over the next few years,” says Patricia Lee, marketing director at the Rockford, Ill.-based Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International, an organization dedicated to supporting the metal forming and fabricating industry. “When the elevator no longer goes to the top of your building, that’s going to be a problem.” ​

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Author Bio:

Christine Birkner
Christine Birkner is the senior staff writer for Marketing News. She can be reached at cbirkner@ama.org.