At the Home Builders Association of Southwest Colorado, we believe that parents should talk with their kids about the possibility of a career in the skilled trades.  In fact, it may be almost entirely up to you to do this, since our culture and education systems tend to steer young students toward college.

Certainly, there’s nothing wrong with going to college!  But while it’s the right choice for many teens, this path is not perfect for everyone.  Not only that, becoming a plumber or an electrician or a builder in Durango or Pagosa Springs doesn’t mean you can’t pursue higher education as well—now or later.

Here are several reasons learning a skilled trade is a great idea for today’s youth

  • The Trades N Training (TNT) program: Students can get started learning in high school through the HBASC’s TNT program. Available in Durango and Bayfield, the program offers students hands on training and pre-apprentice certificates through the Home Builders Institute.  HBASC members work with the young men and women, alongside their shop teachers, to ensure the graduates are apprentice-ready after high school.
  • Modest resource investments: When teens decide to go to trade school, the financial outlay is normally a fraction of the cost of a college education. In addition, most kids finish trade school in 12 to 18 months, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).  They can be ready to start earning a good living at a young age.
  • Excellent compensation: The NAHB offers some examples of average earnings you can share with your teen. Striking is the pay rate for plumbers, nearly $26 per hour, and electricians, about $26.50 per hour.  Both these rates are higher than that of social workers.  The NAHB also points out that most positions come with benefits too, and professionals who continue gaining expertise can expect promotions and pay raises.
  • Jobs, jobs, jobs. No one knows more about the demand for skilled trade workers than home builders in La Plata and Archuleta counties. The well-known national shortage in these jobs translates into security and flexibility for those with skills.  Furthermore, there are positions for everyone no matter who you are—the field is wide open for men, women, and people of color.  And the sheer variety of work allows young people to choose a trade they love, whether it’s finish carpentry, painting, welding, or something else.
  • High satisfaction: There are many advantages to finding a fit in the building industry. One is that workers can usually knock off at the end of the day and leave the job behind.  Job politics and other headaches tend to rear their head less often than in many corporate careers.  People also benefit from seeing tangible results of their daily work.

Have we convinced you to talk with your teen?  Here are a few more considerations to think over.

Going greener is becoming an increasingly important priority for builders in Southwest Colorado.  The construction business is certainly booming, and in our area there’s a strong desire to preserve the beauty of the surroundings and animal habitats, as well as decreasing the carbon footprint of construction projects.  If the environment is a focus for your son or daughter, they could become a leader in green building with support from the HBASC.

Maybe you have a youngster who desires nothing more than to ski as often as they can.  Or perhaps your child wants the chance to be a river guide for a while and enjoy the outdoors to the fullest.  A part-time position in the skilled trades can provide income to help support a non-conventional direction.

As many parents are well aware, not every teen heading toward high school graduation knows what they want to do with their lives.  The pandemic makes the future seem less certain than ever, and learning a skilled trade is wonderful insurance.  Whether your child works for decades as a mason, uses the training to pick up work to complement other interests, or wants to have a skill to fall back on later, it’s an investment worth making for many youngsters.

If we can help with information, or even a Durango or Pagosa building industry professional your teen can talk to, give us a call at 970-382-0082.

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