How Education is Changing and Affecting The Trades


More and more students are starting to consider work in the trades again, rather than going to college for traditional blue collar work after graduation. That’s because the labor gap has helped make the trades a more competitive career path. And if you’re a fan of Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs, you know that he’s been a huge advocate for the trades too, and his talk about spending money on college has caused some controversy. But he puts his money where his mouth is, and has created an organization that awards scholarships to students who are interested in the trades. Here are some of the ways that we’ve seen education evolve and affect the trades over the last few years:


College costs are growing.

Unlike technology, education isn’t getting cheaper as it becomes more advanced! College costs keep going up, so students (and their parents) are less likely to have saved all the funds they need. This means that they need to take out larger and larger loans to pay for it. Meanwhile, the cost of trade schools remains fairly stable – and the price difference is huge! This making trades more attractive


There are more online options.

There are so many more education options now, and students have a variety of choices that include pre-recorded online classes, live online environments, or a combination of online and classroom – all competing with traditional colleges that don’t offer these options. They can be very appealing for the student who is remote or working to pay for the growing costs.


Technology is creating opportunities.

New innovations and technologies are increasing at rapid rate, and technology is being used more and more in the construction industry too! Especially with the labor gap, many startups have come up with innovations that will help employers be able to get more done with less craftsmen. It’s creating the need and opportunities for a whole new kind of craftsman – one who can combine trade skills with technology skills!


There are innovative Apprenticeships in the trades.

Apprenticeships are attractive because you can earn while you learn. And now there are more options for different kinds of trade schools, including programs like Madden Apprenticeship Program that give you the ability to work at different employers throughout your apprenticeship, rather than just one employer. There are different formats and specialties as well, making it easy to make money while you’re learning.


The value of the degree is declining. 

Because more and more high school students are pursuing a Bachelor’s degree, it’s less unique and doesn’t mean as much as it did before. Unless you are getting a graduate degree for a doctor, teacher, or lawyer, it’s not as much of a payoff after. This is making the trades look more attractive, because not only can you earn while you learn, but the demand is higher – so you are more likely to get a high paying job right away in the trades.


There’s a lower focus on credentials.

More and more businesses are hiring people without a college degree. Employers are are more interested in the accomplishments and skills of their people, and the This is especially true for startups that value speed along with initiative and ingenuity more than anything else. This has added a whole new complexity in the workforce


More options gives you more opportunity.

All these new educational options – whether it’s online, trade apprenticeships, or college – are ultimately giving students an upper hand because each individual can now stand out with the skills they need to do a job that fits their passion and strengths best.


If you’ve been considering a career in the trades, you might be interested in our registered apprenticeship program, done in partnership with PCC. Call us at Madden with questions and we can help guide you to getting the training you need!