Letter: There’s no shame in skilled trades

There weren’t any caps, gowns or diplomas, but 257 graduates were recently honored at a ceremony in Des Moines. Associated Builders and Contractors of Iowa (ABC), the largest construction apprenticeship program in the state, trained more than 1,400 skilled workers this year, including this largest graduating class we’ve ever had.

At ABC, we know not all students should graduate high school and be pushed to a four-year degree. There are talented graduates that are better suited for a life in the skilled trades and that starts with apprenticeship training.

There used to be a stigma surrounding the trades but that is quickly shifting. In the U.S., there will be 6.1 million jobs in the construction industry by 2021 and 1.5 million craft professionals will be needed to fill them. These highly trained workers are in serious demand, have a great deal of job security and their pay reflects it.

ABC apprentices are taught proper safety courses and specific skills in the areas of electrical, plumbing, HVAC, sheet metal, millwright, insulation, laborer and electronic systems technicians.

These graduates don’t need a cap and gown — they have a loaded tool belt and a job and have been building their careers while they earned their education. We’re proud of the hard work ABC apprenticeship graduates have put in and wish them great success.

Ginny Shindelar

Grimes, Iowa

Editor’s note: Shindelar is vice president of Education and Training with Associated Builders and Contractors of Iowa.