Among real-estate brokers and homebuilders, the buzz word is "Millenials," the younger generation that now outnumbers Baby Boomers. These are today's hot new homebuyers, provided the industry can adjust to key differences (see "Millennial Home Buyer: Fact vs. Fiction," Builder, 1/2/15).
Gen-Y is also the likely solution to the shortage of skilled labor (see "Contractors Optimistic for 2015, But How is Growth Possible?"). An NPR report this week cast a bright light on the largely hidden benefits for young workers of pursuing a career in the trades.
It's largely assumed that blue-collar work is unappealing compared to sexy tech jobs or high-paying careers in finance. But perhaps it's just a messaging problem. True: currently the unemployment rate is nearly twice as high for Americans who only graduated high school than for those with a four-year college degree or more. True: on average, people with a four-year college degree make more money than those with a two-year degree or less. But, as NPR underlines: There is plenty of nuance behind those truths.
"Averages lie," says Anthony Carnevale, the director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce in the NPR report. "The problem with the averages is that people who work at Radio Shack or Target get lumped in with master carpenters and electricians." Skilled trade workers stand a much better chance of landing a good paying job out of a two-year college program. There is no lack for the availability of those jobs right now, and graduates won't be saddled with enormous student loans.
Still, there remains a sobering dearth of good training for young workers. Carnevale is reported saying it straight: "We basically obliterated the modernization of the old vocational education programs and they've been set aside." Just how exactly we're going to bring it back remains to be seen. Your comments please.