America’s gradual development of disconnect from the most basic elements of civilization is undeniable – food, energy, education, and the very nature of work itself. Our society has been trying to convince itself that the best path in life is an expensive, four-year degree for the last 30 years. Culture praises the “corner office job” while demeaning the jobs that built it. As a result, we have devalued any other path to success than a college degree. Millions of parents, career counselors, and educators label community colleges, trade schools, and apprenticeships as “alternative paths.” These programs are viewed as the only option for those not cut out for a four-year degree. Nationally, vocational arts have been removed from high schools in the name of higher education. While all of this still occurs today, the skills gap is widening and student debt is spiraling out of control.

The good news is that a career in the trades is becoming a more attractive option for many of today’s young people. 

Tuition costs have risen faster than the price of food, energy, homes, and health care. Over 44 million borrowers owe more than $1.5 trillion in student loan debt, making it the second-highest consumer debt category in the U.S. The unemployment rate is the highest ever, but millions of skilled jobs are unfilled due to an insufficient supply of skilled workers. Meanwhile, college graduates are experiencing record unemployment, and most of those who have jobs are not even working in their respective fields. But we still recommend a four-year degree as the best path to a successful career? The truth is that most trade jobs don’t need an expensive four-year degree. Many are learned through apprenticeships, many even paid, or through certifications that take way less time. 

Plumbing, electricians, steamfitters, pipefitters, bricklayers, farmers, fishers, and other skilled workers keep society going. Hard work led many to opportunities others didn’t see, like establishing their own successful businesses. These are happy people who managed to achieve a good work-life balance, despite what the media often portrays. Many research studies exist that show a sedentary lifestyle is bad for your health. Trade jobs are more active and keep workers in great physical shape. 

As the Baby Boomers (those 55+) begin to retire, there aren’t enough skilled workers to replace them. In many trades, there are currently not enough middle-aged workers to move up and take over leadership positions as well. Right now, if you are a skilled trade worker, the opportunities to make a great salary are endless. Trade jobs often offer great flexibility as well, with different shifts or the ability to work alternating schedules (three days on/four days off, etc.). The extra time is appealing to many who want to take more advanced trade skill classes, start their own business, or pursue passions outside of work. 

By challenging stigmas and stereotypes, we can bridge the skills gap and help people pursue the millions of available jobs. A four-year degree may not always be the best option for most people, so redefining what a good education and a good job are is important. The solution starts with an increased appreciation for hard work, and an understanding of the impact skilled labor has on their daily lives. We’ve taken some bad advice and tried to separate hard work from success. If you’re interested in pursuing a successful career in the trades, the only person you need to impress with your career is YOU. 

At Indianola Mechanical we place an emphasis on working hard and having fun. We offer competitive pay and benefits along with paid holidays. We have created a culture where you can expect to excel and grow. Our team takes pride in always doing what is right and exceeding customer expectations. Apply today!