Training in skilled trades making comeback in Iowa schools

Zachary Hageman moves through the almost-done luxury apartments near downtown Des Moines and points to the studs and wiring, the drywall and cabinets.

Zach Hageman, 18, recently graduated from North High School and is part of a Summer job site cleanup through Hubble Construction and DMPS central campus. He is learning the trades while working on projects like Cityville on Wednesday, July 26, 2017 in Des Moines.
(Photo: Brian Powers/The Register)

The 18-year-old is part of the cleanup crew, an entry-level position that’s part of a new school program designed to give hands-on experience to high school students and recent graduates.

Once unsure of his future, the recent North High School graduate now plans to become an electrician. It’s an in-demand job. In Iowa, experienced electricians average $30 an hour, or more than $62,000 a year, according to the Iowa Wage Report 2016.

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The brave new world of construction recruiting

“Even with apprenticeships and other training programs, finding new workers is a challenge.”

Times have changed. It once wasn’t unusual for a construction career to start and end with family. “You learned the skills, gained responsibility along the way and often ended up years later with ownership of the business,” said Kim Waseca-Love, education and apprenticeship director for the Spokane (WA) Home Builders Association.

But that scenario is becoming less and less common. And with the ongoing labor shortage, the need for solutions is taking on a greater importance. Waseca-Love says there will soon be a deficit of 200,000 to 250,000 construction workers annually nationwide. Part of that drop-off will come as the result of older workers retiring, making the need to transfer their knowledge and skills to those taking their place an urgent one.

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Shortage of skilled workers squeezing Twin Cities builders

“Jobs drained by recession are back, with no one to fill them” Kevin Yakes spends so much time trying to keep his Golden Valley construction firm staffed, he sometimes feels like a full-time recruiter. During a recent family getaway in Florida, Yakes hopped in the car and drove more than an hour to have beers … Read more

Want a $1 Million Paycheck? Skip College and Go Work in a Lumberyard

“High-paying blue-collar jobs go unfilled as millions of Americans take on loads of college debt. Building-supply giant 84 Lumber says it has the answer”

Sabastian Kleis, the son of a waitress from Rust Belt Ohio, was supposed to be the first person in his family to graduate from college. Instead, he dropped out of Kent State University after two years. By most accounts, Kleis, 24, should be flipping burgers. But on a recent afternoon a lumber company was grooming him for a management job.

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The State Of Overqualified Workers – A college education is a popular credential in Minnesota, but it isn’t needed to perform most jobs.

Steve Hine, who holds a Ph.D. in economics, isn’t anti-education. But as the research director of Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), he’s in possession of data that not many college professors would like to see.

Hine led a recent study that determined that “two-thirds of the jobs in Minnesota require a high school education or less.” That conclusion is sharply at odds with a 2013 Georgetown University study, which estimated that 74 percent of Minnesota jobs would require “some level of postsecondary education by 2020.”

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