Skilled Trades

Last Updated 04/11/2024

Refers to careers that require experience-based skills and knowledge. They typically rely on on-the-job training programs and apprenticeships to teach entry-level professionals how to succeed in their trade roles. Skilled trades are often broken down into three categories: (1) skilled industrial trades, such as welders and machinists; (2) skilled construction trades, such as plumbers and carpenters; and (3) skilled service trades, such as nurses.

The skilled trades are growing in importance in the learn-and-work ecosystem. This has been fueled by a shortage of jobs in the trades, rising pay, and new technologies. Fields such as plumbing, welding, machine tooling, HVAC, solar, construction, and the electrical occupations are increasingly appealing to the youngest generation of American workers (often called “Gen-Z”), many of whom are deciding to skip a traditional college path after high school graduation in favor of seeking well-paying employment in the trades.

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