What Gen Z Is Returning To Is A Good Sign

As the baby boomer generation continues to retire, the skilled trades industry is facing a labor shortage in the United States. This includes professions such as plumbing, welding, and construction. However, there is a growing generation of young people, known as Gen Z, who are stepping up to fill these gaps in the workforce.

According to reports, enrollment in vocational programs and applications for trade jobs have been increasing in recent years as more and more young people look for alternatives to expensive four-year college degrees. The National Center for Craftsmanship, which provides vocational training at high schools, has seen a 16% jump in enrollment in the past year alone.

One of the driving forces behind this shift is the fact that enrollment in four-year colleges has been falling as more and more young people question the value of a college degree and the burden of student debt. This has led to a median age decrease in a number of trades, such as carpentry and HVAC maintenance, as more young people enter the workforce.

However, while there is a positive trend in vocational training enrollment, the labor shortage in the trades is far from over. In fact, the construction industry alone is facing a gap of half a million workers, as many more skilled workers have retired in recent years than have been trained to replace them.

Despite this, there is a noticeable shift among Generation Z, as they see the potential for stable, well-paying jobs in the trades. A survey by New America found that 54% of Gen Z believe a high school diploma is enough to land a good job, while a Gallup study found that 46% of parents would prefer their children pursue alternatives to four-year college.

One factor driving this attitude is the belief that jobs in the trades will be more resilient to the rise of AI, compared to white-collar professions. Nick Largura, CEO of Superior Construction, highlights this selling point to young workers, stating that construction and other trades are industries that aren’t going anywhere, even in the face of technological advancements. He also emphasizes the sense of accomplishment that comes with seeing a physical product at the end of a day’s work.

However, despite the growing interest in trade jobs among young people, there are still challenges to be addressed. “There are so many people retiring that it’s hard to say if our numbers will cover all of them,” says Robb Sommerfeld, co-founder of the National Center for Craftsmanship. He also notes that the work of educating the public about the opportunities in the trades is not yet complete.

While progress is being made, there is still work to be done in addressing the labor shortage in the skilled trades industry. However, the momentum is there as more and more young people see promising futures in these jobs.

As companies and vocational programs continue to showcase the opportunities available in the trades, the hope is that more young people will choose this career path and help fill the gaps left by retiring baby boomers.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here