Last week, I was looking for a contractor in North Florida to give me a bid to have a room added to a trailer for my patient, who is a quadriplegic. He needs more space in the trailer for his supplies and equipment. What I found out as I worked through the list of contractors was the challenge it is to find a qualified workers for the trades.
While searching online for contractors, I found that I had to narrow my search to contractors who worked on mobile homes. Being more specific about what I was looking for made the search more manageable.
I started calling companies and found that many companies were out of business or the number was disconnected. I also got voicemails, and I left a message as to what I was looking for. When I finally talked to someone, I was told they were too busy to take on a small project. To those people, I said, well, I am glad you are busy, as that means people are spending money on home improvement projects. I said I thought this was good news as I had been getting a lot of disconnected phones or told they were not doing this type of work anymore.
One man to whom I said this said I am busy because I cannot find qualified people to do this work. His comment made me pause a minute. He said finding people to do this type of work is hard. I asked him what he thought the problem was. He said kids are not told about the various trades and are pushed to go to college. We talked for a while, and he shared his thoughts. I made some suggestions, and we agreed and disagreed on some things.
I thought about what he said and had to agree with him. We both agreed that we as a country need more vocational programs for kids in high school. He said our country needs more people, like carpenters, plumbers, electricians, painters, and other skilled workers, who can fix and make things. I mentioned my brother worked at a Trade School near Philadelphia.
Williamson College of the Trades is post high school program for young men. According to the website, approximately 124 students are offered admission to Williamson College of the Trades each year. Admission is open to all qualifying young men. Still, special consideration is given to those from families in financial need who would otherwise be able to further their education.
I hope cities, states, and schools look at how we educate our youth as they are our future. We can put money into projects, but we need skilled workers to do the work to get it done. It is a dilemma we need to think about!
What have you seen in your community regarding trade schools for young people to consider as they move through High School? Put a comment in the chat, so we can all think about how to address this dilemma.
Have a good week.
PS: I finally got three contractors to evaluate the home so I would know the cost of the addition. The next step will be to find a source where I can get a grant to cover the cost of the project. Wish me luck!