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  • Writer's pictureTerry Bierwirth

Why My Work My Future?

Updated: Jun 20, 2019

Overview of the Skilled Trades Job Market

Across the country, the demand for most trades is strong and getting stronger. The U.S. Department of Labor forecasts healthy growth in employment between 8 to 9 percent in the next 10 years. Jobs associated with building and rebuilding roads, bridges, water and the power grid are expected to grow by double digits. Jobs for plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters’ jobs are expected to grow more than 15%. Construction, the mechanical trades, and industrial occupations are in-demand and could mean either a stable career or a launching pad.

In Oregon, construction is booming. According to the Oregon Employment Department, construction has accounted for a quarter of Oregon’s employment growth over the past year, adding 11,100 jobs and employing 108,200 people across the state. Aging in the trades will open even more opportunities as workers retire. OED states in 2017, workers age 55 and older made up nearly a quarter of the construction and manufacturing workforce.

Why the Shortage of Skilled Workers?

There is strong belief a “college-for-all” mantra for the past several decades has driven the elimination of vocational programs that once introduced young people to the trades, diluting the pipeline of potential workers. The stigma of working in the trades also compounds the issue. Because of these realities and perceptions that have gone on for years, the lack of familiarity with these opportunities has led parents, grandparents and teachers to lead their kids or students away from careers in the trades. While college degrees are important for some, there are multiple career paths to success and our youth need to be exposed to all opportunities. One size does not fit all.

What Can Be Done?

To rebuild a pipeline, broader community recognition of the value and opportunity by working in the skilled trades is desperately needed. We need a cultural shift in which parents, teachers, guidance counselors and the community no longer view the skilled trades as second option. At My Work My Future, we want to help shift the 40-year-old mindset by communicating the following points: college is not for everyone and not the only path to a successful career; careers in the skilled trades are in high demand and provide family wages, the jobs are safer and more technologically advanced than ever before. MWMF is a collector and discriminator of information surrounding workforce opportunities in the skilled trades. We are the source for those who want to know more about the trades and how to connect with the companies who are hiring. We believe we are needed. We are passionate about doing our part to address the skilled labor shortage.

Lane Community College Diesel Technology Program 2019

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