Imagine a world without creators, innovators, explorers, discoverers, connectors, doers… and makers. It’s impossible, isn’t it? How would homes, communities, and cities grow? Thrive? How would they be built in the first place? The skilled trades are the link between the world of ideas and possibilities and tangible, functional (and beautiful) reality. Given the widening talent gap in this area, workforce development is beyond important for professionals in the design, construction, arts, and technologies industries.

It’s also critical for students and those looking for a career that they can build on, that is rewarding, that allows them to do what they do best… make.

Behind the 2020 Skilled Trade Stats

You have a lot of statistics being thrown at you. Like this one: college grads earn an average of $30,000 more per year than non-college educated peers. It’s time we look at some different numbers:

  • College grads carry an average $37,172 in debt.
  • Only 27% of college graduates have a job directly related to their degree.
  • Vocational/trade school costs about one-tenth of the price of a four-year program. When you have this type of education under your belts you are more likely to be employed than your college-educated counterparts. You can also “earn and learn,” getting a jump start on saving and achieving goals that matter to you.
  • The building trades are projected to experience better than average employment through at least 2026. At the same time, veterans of the trades are retiring in droves, and fewer students and younger workers are stepping up to take their place. These conditions create a “perfect storm” when it comes to securing the talent needed to complete jobs and grow companies in a sustainable way.
  • Some 225,000 construction trade jobs are left vacant each year. In Indiana alone, 72% of contractors have difficulty filling some or all open positions for skilled laborers, and 83% would like to hire even more people to keep up with demand.

Finding Other Pathways

importance of workforce development

You’ve probably heard the “go to college if you want to succeed” speech. Many times. If that’s your path, great! Take the steps. If you feel your skills, aptitude, and interests lie in a different direction, though, rest assured you can have a rewarding career. And, given these numbers, you’re likely going to be highly sought-after as a skilled trades professional.

Garret Morgan was in the same boat as many students. “All through my life it was, ‘if you don’t go to college you’re going to end up on the streets.’ Everybody’s so gung-ho about going to college.” So, he went. Soon he found it wasn’t for him, and Garret started training as an ironworker. At age 20, he has benefits, a pension, and pulls in over $50,000 a year. With experience and a wide-open career path, Garret’s earning power will continue to increase.

He thinks about his friends who are still in college and says, “Someday maybe they’ll make as much as me.”

Solving the Workforce Development Dilemma

Workforce development is job number one for those of us in the design and construction fields: without skilled trade workers, meeting demand, completing jobs on time and on budget, and hitting exacting quality targets is a real challenge.

It would be nice if school systems started to give equal playing time to vocational and trade options when preparing students for their next steps. But we’re not waiting around for change: we’re making it.

At the Hub & Spoke Institute, our mission is to overcome the stigma of the industry, highlight the possibilities, and grow awareness of the wealth of opportunities available to those who pursue the trades. It is a space for students to engage in experiential, hands-on learning and develop work-ready skills that you can leverage for a successful, sustainable, and satisfying career.

We work with companies, government agencies, schools, communities, nonprofits, and other organizations to tackle the complex issue of workforce development. By offering the space, the guidance, the support, the connections, and the tools to explore vocational and technical career options, Hub & Spoke is growing tomorrow’s trade leaders. Will you be one of them?

We can’t imagine a world without creators, innovators, explorers, discoverers, connectors, doers, and makers. With initiatives like Hub & Spoke, we won’t have to. Get involved today – and we’ll make the changes we need for tomorrow.


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8100 E 106th Street, Fishers, IN 46038