Over the past few years, Americans have been stuck in an economic crunch characterized by low-paying jobs and skyrocketing inflation. The response from the previous recession during the COVID-19 pandemic ended too quickly, magnifying the inadequacies of an already fragile job market.
But eureka! There are solutions, one of which is apprenticeship programs. Unfortunately, apprenticeship programs for plumbing, HVAC, and other skilled trades are often overlooked as pathways to lucrative careers.
Apprenticeships have a long history in America, but now, perhaps more than ever, they present an attractive alternative to low-paying jobs and having to spend time and money on college.
Skilled trades apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job and classroom training, helping people tap into lucrative job markets full of benefits and perks. They can also help people gain access to higher education if they later choose to visit that path.
What Are Apprenticeship Programs?
Apprenticeship programs can jumpstart a person’s career by providing the means to learn valuable in-demand skills right out of high school (and sometimes while still in school). These skills are related to the trades, which are career fields and industries like:
- Electrical work
People who opt for a career in the skilled trades reap many benefits without waiting years to start profiting from a lucrative career. Apprenticeship programs exist to help workers get on this career pathway by offering paid experience and nationally recognized credentials and skills.
When someone participates in an apprenticeship program, they earn a competitive salary from day one. Through their program, they’ll gain knowledge from classroom training and on-the-job experience for a specific amount of time as they prepare for licensure in their particular field of expertise.
Just how lucrative can this career pathway be? According to Apprenticeship USA, 93% of workers who finish an apprenticeship program enjoy an average annual salary of $77,000. And that’s without ever having to step foot in a college lecture hall.
Apprenticeships can also provide opportunities to connect with mentors in the industry to help advance the tradesman’s career, and some skills obtained through apprenticeships can count as academic credit toward a college degree.
The Crucial Impact of Apprenticeships in America
These apprenticeship programs are critical for workforce development in the current economic climate, but they’ve been important ever since the National Apprenticeship Act was passed in 1937.
The past three presidential administrations have made significant investments in the apprenticeship system, as its value was more than apparent — apprenticeship programs provide a pathway for people to get into steady, well-paying careers that are in high demand and offer exceptional job security.
From an NJ apprenticeship program for HVAC to a Colorado apprenticeship for carpentry, apprenticeship programs around the country play an essential role in lifting millions of workers out of low-paying dead-end jobs while offering services that everyone needs.
Currently, there are an estimated 7.3 million open jobs in the U.S. due to the current gap in professions like HVAC and plumbing. In 2021, there was a 55% shortage of plumbers. It’s estimated that there will be 48,600 more openings for plumbers each year in the future and 55,000 more HVAC technicians in the next decade.
The Necessity of Skilled Trade Apprentices and Professionals
At Paraco Gas, we’re committed to providing our customers with the most comprehensive services available. While we’re a leading gas company in the region, we also offer HVAC and plumbing services.
Television host and star of Dirty Jobs, Mike Rowe, advocates for the trades and continues to work hard to narrow the gap. Through the Mike Rowe WORKS Foundation, work ethic scholarships are issued to workers looking to earn technical degrees and skills in the blue-collar world.
We recognize the value that skilled trade professionals bring to each and every home, and we support every apprentice and professional of the trades. Learn more about our HVAC and plumbing services today.