Skilled trades: a high demand, high wage choice

Michigan can gain a competitive advantage by filling the skills gap.

At the Mackinac Island Policy Conference held in late May, Governor Snyder stated Michigan can gain a competitive edge over other states by filling a skills gap that leads to good jobs going unfilled, due to a lack of qualified candidates. This article will help you learn more about this promising career field!

What is a skilled trade? They are occupations that require special skills and work that is typically done with your hands. Skilled trade jobs can be found in construction, service and industrial areas. Training for skilled trades often combines classroom time with on the job training. Some examples of skilled trade occupations include electrician, auto mechanic or machinist.

Why consider a skilled trade? Today in Michigan, many skilled trade workers are in high demand! Someone looking for work in the skilled trades will find large increases in online job postings from just a year ago. According to the April 2014 Michigan Online Job Demand Analysis, many skilled trade industries showed tremendous growth: construction (25.3 percent), transportation (54.5 percent) and production (17.3 percent). The need for some skilled trades is expected to continue not only in Michigan, but across the nation.

How much can I earn as a skilled tradesperson? Skilled trades people can earn a solid wage. In Michigan, wages for skilled trade workers ranges from a beginning hourly rate of $13 to $34 for those with more experience. This translates to an annual salary of $ 27,000 to $ 71,000 per year, with a median hourly wage more than $21 per hour.

Where can I get experience or training? To get started, many high schools offer career and technical education (CTE) classes. It has been found that students enrolled in CTE classes have a higher graduation rate (90.18 percent) compared to the national graduation rate of 74.9 percent. For those who have completed high school, consider exploring registered apprenticeship options available through your local community colleges or Workforce Development Agency.

Where can I learn more? There are many resources available to research possible skilled trade career options. The Michigan Credit Union League recently published Career and Technical Training for Skilled Trades in Michigan. This guide includes wage information, training resources, descriptions and forecasts for 24 high-demand occupations in Michigan. The Occupational Outlook Handbook is another resource provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that provides national career information on hundreds of jobs. Michigan State University Extension also provides career preparation articles, resources and workshops across the state.

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