Recently the New York Times wrote about the increasing trend of white collar workers who are trading in their desk jobs for more interesting, hands-on–and high paying–jobs in skilled trades. Some workers, after spending years in a cubicle, long for new work with their hands or not involving computers. Others make the switch to tap into their enthusiasm for hobbies or side gigs. Either way, the market for skilled workers is great, as over the next decade thousands of tradespeople will be retiring.
In Vermont, educational opportunities to enter the trades can be found statewide. Vermont Tech, with locations in Randolph, Williston, and Brattleboro, offers workforce training programs in a wide variety of trades. The Vermont Department of Labor has an array of services to assist Vermonters in transitioning to new careers. And apprenticeship opportunities allow entry into new fields along with training.
The retirement trend has prompted a new initiative by the popular home improvement show “This Old House.” The perennial favorite of homeowners and craftsmen alike is promoting its “Generation NEXT” program, matching young people with scholarships and apprenticeships and mentoring the next generation of craftspeople.