Saturday, November 25, 2017

We Need Electricians more than Business Majors

About a month ago I helped coordinate and host a career fair at our high school, and the information students can glean about careers is incredibly important these days. Nearly two dozen trade schools, contractors, and career association reps provided information to our students about working in culinary arts, cosmetology, plumbing, landscape design, auto-body repair, and electrical trades. In chatting with a representative from the electricians apprenticeships, I was surprised (well, not really) to learn that a journeyman electrician with several years experience and working forty hours a week can pull in as much as $80,000 annually. And there is no drought for work in Colorado - in fact, there is a shortage for this sort of skilled labor, and job vacancies with impressive salaries abound. Some electricians who are willing to travel and stay at job sites for 2-6 months or longer can expect to pull down high six figures (even reaching $200K) because contractors are so desperate for skilled electricians that in some places they pay time-and-a-half for the first forty hours a week. At a time with the average family income in the United States hovering around $54K, and a time when the average college student is carrying loan debt of $30K or more, the news on opportunities for electricians needs more prominence. And, rather shockingly, one of the primary reasons for such a shortage of laborers is the inability of people to reliably show up for work five days a week and be able to pass a drug test. Yes, thanks to marijuana legalization, it seems everyone who could or would work in the trades can't be trusted to actually do the job. Now, that's truly sad.