Have you got a ‘plan B’ for the days ahead?…”NOT IF, BUT WHEN”

Wednesday, August 14, 2013
By Paul Martin

Aug 13, 2013

The promise of employment for those who go to college and get a degree doesn’t have the allure that it did several years ago. For several generations now, including my own, the focus has been on higher education so that we can have a future brighter than our hard working parents – so that we could work smarter and not harder.

The national effect of this push has resulted in three to four generations of people with a lot of book skills (with the entitlement to a salaried office job) and no trade skills. Now, however, over half of all trade-skill laborers in the U.S. are over the age of 45 and looking toward retirement. That’s scary.

Millions of Americans share my lack of certainty for our nation’s economic future. Fifth grade math tells us that this can’t end well, and many are formulating backup plans just in case. One thing I know about supply and demand is that when there is shortage of something that is necessary, demand for it increases.

Trade skills are the stitches that keep much of society from splitting wide open. They are absolutely necessary. Without them, everything crumbles. There was once a time when blacksmiths were more important and more valuable to society than lawyers. While many tradesmen and women feel overworked, underpaid and underappreciated, there may come a time (once again) when these skills are back on top of the food chain. As these laborers begin to “age out,” and as our economy continues to weaken, these fields will prove to be excellent backup plans for many who have chosen academic training over vocational training.

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