Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios
America needs technical workers — and supply isn’t measuring up to demand.
The big picture: Older workers in the skilled trades are retiring and not enough young people are training up to take their jobs as construction workers, plumbers, electricians and beyond.
By the numbers: The construction industry faces a gap of a half million workers, according to Construction Dive.
What’s happening: As America de-industrialized in the second half of the 20th century, education was reimagined to emphasize seeking four-year degrees, says Anthony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.
Zoom out: “We have this stigma with working with your hands like that’s supposed to mean you have less of a brain,” says Robb Sommerfeld, co-founder of the National Center for Craftsmanship. “That’s absolutely not the case.”
The bottom line: Careers in the trades provide paths to prosperity, but recruiting new workers will require a shift in the way the U.S. thinks about education, Carnavale says.
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