(BPT) - For anyone seeking a career that's in demand and offers a wide variety of positions, the skilled trades and construction should be at the top of your list. Whether you're interested in construction, architecture and design, technology, finance, business administration, sales or HR, the array of jobs available in the field may help you find your perfect fit.
Benefits of working in the skilled trades
Because the skilled trades are in such high demand and the construction field is so vast, the sheer variety of positions allows not only for many different entry points into the industry, but also plenty of opportunities for advancement. At companies like 84 Lumber, the largest privately held building materials supplier in the nation, opportunities are varied and financially rewarding for people with or without college degrees.
"The opportunities are endless. Team members have started in the warehouse/yard and are now leaders within 84 Lumber," observed Joe Jena, director of talent acquisition. "Careers in the skilled trades are valued, as we would not be able to live our everyday lives without them."
Another advantage is that once you've acquired experience in one sector, you can go on to learn other aspects of the industry, then advance to a supervisory role or even work toward owning your own business.
"The skilled trades provide not only an excellent career path with job stability, but also supports a person with entrepreneurial aspirations," said Ken Kucera, vice president of installed sales and manufacturing, 84 Lumber.
Possibly the biggest benefit rests in how vital these roles are in society. "The genuine lack of skilled tradespeople is creating a dearth of labor, and a huge opportunity for those willing to learn new skills. There simply aren’t enough skilled workers to keep the economy running if we don't fill those roles," said Matt Pabis, general manager of the truss plant in Coal Center, Pennsylvania, for 84 Lumber. "The possibilities and opportunities for success in the future are very great, either as a tradesperson or business owner in the skilled trades."
Great jobs are available — with or without a four-year degree
While some positions in the field may benefit from the education a four-year degree provides, most jobs are attainable with an associate's degree, technical school certification or even just via on-the-job training.
"My college education was beneficial for the current role I hold. Having studied logistics, supply chain management, operations, inventory, etc. definitely gave me the foundation to build on in taking this role," added Pabis. "But on-the-job training was integral in my advancement as a truss designer."
If you're on the fence about what kind of education you'll need to succeed in a career, it's worth weighing the cost and the time commitment of a four-year degree, along with the potential return on that investment.
"While a majority of recent graduates decide to pursue an education at a four-year school, skilled trades development is a lot quicker and, in most cases, provides the same type of return and faster opportunity to start advancing in a career," explained Mauricio Bleichner, recruiting lead-components for 84 Lumber. "We encourage individuals to develop their skills with comprehensive training in carpentry, machine maintenance and architectural drafting. These advanced programs offer recent graduates the opportunity to start a profitable career without incurring the cost of a four-year school."
On-the-job training opportunities
These types of positions are in such high demand that many employers will provide or support ongoing education to ensure that every employee can succeed, even if they begin with little to no experience or education under their belt.
"When I started, I had little construction experience, and no formal training," recalled Casey Lemoi, install manager. "One thing 84 Lumber does is create a culture of learning. We have a whole department full of awesome people who are constantly developing new training and programs to help us further our careers within the company and construction trades."
Wherever you are in your career path, it's worthwhile to pursue a job in a field that will always be needed. "Skilled trades are in demand and will always be essential to society," added Lemoi. "Skilled tradespeople are shaping the future of our world, one project at a time."
National Skilled Trades Day is May 3, 2023. Whether you want to be a chef or a plumber, a medical coder or a roofer, a construction worker or a vet tech, there are many options available.
Learn more about career possibilities at Careers.84Lumber.com.