Attention manufacturers: Our problem is your problem

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If you’re a loyal blog reader, you will notice a common thread among all of the bloggers—we advocate for bringing more people to the trades. As tradespeople and business owners, we experience daily the skilled worker drought amongst the job pool. For every four people that leave the trades, only one person is joining.

Here’s where you need to pay attention manufacturers: if the number of tradespeople diminishes, who will purchase your products and equipment? According to Ritchie Bros, “Compared to 2012 revenues, the world’s top 50 construction equipment manufacturers experienced a 10% decrease, or a more than US$20 billion collective hit, to their combined revenues in 2013, according to the 2014 Yellow Table ranking survey.”*

In other countries, such as: England, Australia and Canada, their governments created an skilled trades program nationwide. These government sponsored entity provides education, advise and direction for those interested in joining the skilled trades work force. No such entity exists in the United States. Recently, President Obama created an Apprenticeship Program to try and appeal to young people and get them trained and employable. Yet, this does not fully encompass the needs of the trade industry when it comes to hiring.

We compete with colleges, who spend $2,200 per student to recruit and the military which spends over $1 billion a year to recruit. Wow! That’s a good deal of money. They’ve saturated the market with facebook ads, commercials and radio ads. Typically, Contractors own and operate small businesses with small margins that could not afford the contributions necessary to accumulate that magnitude of funds. We need to market the trades in a manner similar to the marketing campaigns of colleges and the military.

Who do we know, within the trades, with large marketing budgets and a keen interest in the future tradespeople of America? Manufacturers! Consider this an official “callout” to manufacturers. What are you going to do to contribute to solving the lack of skilled workers issue?

Personally, I’ve started a national campaign, The National Trades Initiative, to address this concern directly. Feel free to contact me personally to utilize all of our resources to solve this problem once and for all.

allie hard hatAllie Perez is director of operations, Mr. Plumber / Mr. AC, San Antonio ( Her interesting viewpoints on the trades can be found on her blog at She also is founder of Texas Women in the Trades (TWIT). Visit

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